Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin August 10, 2015

HYDROPOWER

NORTH-EAST:ASSAM: Experts warned Centre Govt against rushing through big dam projects  (08 Aug. 2015) Even local BJP leaders are against Big dams in North EAST: “BJP leader and former bureaucrat Chandrakanta Das said that the power-starved Northeast should generate electricity through small and run-of-the-river dams instead of big dams. We need power for development, but that should not come at the cost of our pristine environment. We should explore power generation through small and run-of-the-river dams,” he said.

SIKKIM: Delay in completion of 500 MW Teesta Hydropower Project cost Lanco dearly as lenders prepare for Rs. 2400 crore debt-equity conversion (10 Aug. 2015) Lenders to Lanco Teesta Hydro Power will convert part of their Rs 2,400-crore outstanding loans to the company into 51% equity in the most significant such takeover since the Reserve Bank of India allowed lenders to do so when borrowers fall behind on repayments. A consortium of lenders, including some large private and public sector banks, agreed to convert part of their loans to Lanco Teesta into equity at a recent meeting. Senior executives at a large commercial bank said that close to Rs 780 crore will be converted into equity under the capital market regulator’s formula. This will be the second such instance of a bank exercising its right to acquire a majority stake in an ailing company.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Power projects to hit biodiversity in Arunachal Pradesh: study (07 Aug. 2015) A study titled Perspective Plan for Development of the TRB assessed the impact of 13 proposed hydropower projects in the ecologically sensitive Tawang River Basin (TRB) in Arunachal Pradesh. The biodiversity of north-east India, especially Arunachal Pradesh, is under threat from hydropower projects. “No one is against hydropower projects, but the way we are going ahead sanctioning projects without considering their overall impact is something which is very problematic. It seems the environment ministry is not bothered to take all necessary precautions,” said Parineeta Dandekar, environmental researcher at the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

MANIPUR: Mapithel dam threatens lives and livelihood of downstream people (09 Aug. 2015) The report mentions environmental and human rights violation caused by construction of Mapithel dam. On occasion of World Indigenous Peoples Day, Mapithal Dam Affected Village Organization appealed to the State Government to adhere to the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights 2007, stick to the recommendation of World Commission on Dams 2000 and UN Special Rapporteurs recommendations.

16 hydropower projects under construction in northeast : Jitendra Singh  (06 Aug. 2015) In a written reply to Rajya Sabha Jitendra Singh Minister for Development  of North Eastern Region stated that there are sixteen hydropower projects under construction in the northeast India.

UTTARAKHAND: Rejecting credible scientific studies & ignoring June 2013 calamity Environment Ministry continue to push controversial hydel projects in Uttarakhand (10 Aug. 2015) From this excellent report in Hindu today: “On the formation of the third committee, senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, E. Theophilus of the Uttarakhand-based Himal Prakriti, and Bharat Jhunjhunwala, a former professor of the IIM-Bangalore, had written to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. “Not only is this a violation but also a clear indication of your ministry’s malafide intentions to overwrite and compromise the findings of previous committees…It is hence clear that till the time you [Mr. Javadekar] do not get a report that gives a green signal to these hydropower projects you will continue to form one committee after another, regardless of the reality on the ground,” they said. In its affidavit in the SC, the Ministry highlights design modifications, almost ruling out their cancellation in disaster-prone Uttarakhand.”

JAMMU & KASHMIR: Flash flood in Ladakh washes several structures and roads (05 Aug. 2015) Scores of structures, including houses, cowsheds, schools were washed away following heavy rainfall in entire Leh district. Theflash has forced people to flee for safety in low lying areas following heavy rainfall in entire Leh district.  One person in Turtuk area was reportedly washed away and many more causalities are feared. Hundreds of tourists held up in Nubra and Pongong Lake, mobiles and landlines not functioning, Leh- Srinagar and Leh- Manali highways blocked at several places.

HIMACHAL PRADESH: Cloud burst, land slide in Mandi, kills three ( 08 Aug. 2015)  Three people have died after a cloudburst in Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. The trio was buried alive under heap of boulders which fell on their house. A house in Dharampur collapsed due to landslides in the area triggered by heavy rainfall.  

No official study conducted to observe changes in Himalaya region as temperature continue to rise in India : MoEFCC(06 Aug. 2015) Environment Minister Prakash Javedkar informed the Rajya Sabha that there is no study reported so far, which supports the fact that many type of instances similar to natural calamities are occurring in the Himalayan region due to global warming. He further disclosed that In line with rising temperature across the globe, all India mean temperature has risen by nearly around 0.6 degree Celsius over the last 110 years.

ODISHA: Despite full reservoirs, hydro power generation falling sharply in Odisha (04 Aug. 2015) The report held poor maintenance, problem in thrust bearings and other technical snags resulting in non-functioning of around 15 units of major hydro power porjects including Heerakud, Chipilima, Burla, Balimela, Rengali leading to loss of 342 MW hydor power in Odisha. Ironically the report terms release of flood water from Hirakud dam as waste of water.

SOUTH: Local people in Karnataka continue to oppose Ganeshpal Mini Hydel on Shalmala river (09 Aug. 2015) Sad to see Ganeshpal Minihydel on Shalmala in Karnataka keeps raising its head again and again despite opposition from thousands of people.

DAMS

DVC Dams worsen the flood situation in South Bengal, says W Bengal CM: (04 Aug. 2015) Holding Damodar Valley Corporation responsible for Bengal floods CM Mamta Banerji was heard saying that DVC was a big problem for the state and they had released 90,000 cusec water last night, but reported it to be 70,000 cusec. She added that the state irrigation secretary has been asked to coordinate with the Jharkhand government to ensure no more water is released from the dams. SANDRP in its latest blog also highlights that DVC dams have failed miserably as measure of flood controls on the contrary they are significantly contributing in transforming floods into disaster.  

म. प्र. सरकार द्वारा क्रूरता से डुबाया जा रहा है अपर बेदा प्रभावितों को (08 Aug. 2015) खरगोन जिले में बन रहे अपर बेदा बांध में गत 4 दिनों से मध्य प्रदेश सरकार क्रूरता के साथ पानी भर रही है जिस कारण अनेक आदिवासी प्रभावितों के घरों में पानी भर दिया गया है. इतना ही नहीं सरकार द्वारा निर्दयता से पुलिस व् बुलडोज़र भेजकर घर तोड़े जा रहे हैं. Also read MP govt forcefully evacuating villagers in Narmada catchment area: AAP

Maharashtra Dam Scam: High Court concluded hearing on PIL filed by Anjali Damania  (08 Aug. 2015) It seems the “beneficiaries” are hell bent on ensuring that Maharashtra Dam Scam is covered up without any noise. “Besides, open inquiries started last December. Now it’s August, not even one FIR, the court needs to monitor this, else the issue will die a death”

Pancheshwar dam to cost 34971.94 crore, WAPCOS Ltd. still to work out final figure (03 Aug. 2015) Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati informed the Rajya Sabha that As per the earlier preliminary estimate, the cost of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project is Rs.34971.94 crore at the price level of February, 2015. However, the work of DPR preparation along with firming up its cost has been entrusted to M/s WAPCOS Ltd., as agreed in the second meeting of the Governing Body of the Indo-Nepal Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) held in November, 2014.

Uma Bharati informs Parliament that Maharashtra has no EC for Virdi dam project  (05 Aug. 2015) In a major disclosure, the Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that Maharashtra government did not secure environmental clearances (EC) for the controversial Virdi dam, currently in a legal battle before the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT). Despite informing MWDT that it will stop all the work on the proposed dam, the Maharashtra government fraudulently continued the work on the project.

Ukai dam (Gujrat) swells up by incessant rain creating flood threat in downstream areas (05 Aug. 2015) Ukai Dam on Tapi River in Gujarat could create another flood disaster almost on the same day it did nine years back, starting August 6, if it is not managed properly. The dam at 269 ft (Full Res Level 345 ft) could reach 320 feet or higher in next couple of days with Hathnur releasing 4.8 lakh cusecs that could continue to be above 3.8 lakh cusecs and more rains pouring.

200 affected people on a foot march protest raising height of Sardar Sarovar dam (07 Aug. 2015) The protest is led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) with support of activists and organisations from different parts of country. The foot march would conclude at Rajghat in Barwani, about 85km from Khalghat, on August 12 in the form of an indefinite sit-in. NBA has said that the process of increasing height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam from 122 metres to 138.68 metres is continuing and due to this 245 villages would face total submergence as backwaters of the dam would spread up to 214 kilometer jeopardizing the life of thousands of families in this belt.

The Sardar Sarovar Project : Book Review by Sripad Dharmidhikary (21 Aug. 2015) The Shripad Dharmadhikary review the Sardar Sarovar Project – Assessing Economic and Social Impacts, by S. Jagadeesan and M. Dinesh Kumar (Sage 2015) the book as weak defiance. Selected version of review can be read by clicking the title of the news. For full version of the review is available on http://shripadmanthan.blogspot.in/2015/08/falling-woefully-short-review-of-book.html

Overflowing Pong Dam creates flood threat in downstream areas (10Aug. 2015) There was heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the dam in Himachal Pradesh that led to heavy inflow of water into the dam. People residing close to the Beas river have been alerted that if the catchment area receives heavy rainfall, more water can be released into the river. There are more than two dozen villages, including Kolian, Chak Bhaian, Motleyin and Mehtabpur, which are in the low lying areas and located close to the river banks in Hoshiarpur. People of Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts have also been alerted as Beas and Sutlej rivers flow from these districts, respectively

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS 

Ken-Betwa linking a disaster for tigers habitat (10 Aug. 2015) Excellent, detailed report on violations and problems related to the Ken Betwa River Link proposal.

Water Resource Ministry claims that possible environmental impacts of River Interlinking Project are well studied and duly addressed in DPR  (06 Aug. 2015) Water Resource Ministry in written reply to Lak Shabha informed that  All environmental impacts and issues arising out of the Environment Impact Assessment studies are duly addressed in Environmental Management Plan which forms a part of River Interlinking DPR and all due safeguards in this regard are planned and envisaged for implementation accordingly. Another media report says that considering practical difficulties for surveys and investigations in Manas-Sankosh and Sankosh-Teesta reaches, the NWDA (National Water Development Agency) has carried out alternate studies avoiding reserved forest and preparation of a feasibility report is under progress.

Water experts in Bangladesh urge national unity against ILR to protect country’s rivers (07 Aug. 2015) Addressing a roundtable on India’s River Interlinking Plan and Water Management in Bangladesh at the National Press Club, water experts said that after the disastrous experiences of the Ganges that has been diverted, Teesta is also being diverted for the past few years without taking care of life of the river itself inside Bangladesh.They said if even water is diverted from the main flow of the Brahmaputra then Bangladesh’s identity as a riverine country will be gone and saline intrusion through the Meghna-Brahmaputra estuary would be more serious than those coming through the Ganges estuary.

MONSOON

Cumulative Rainfall Map up 09 Aug. 2015 (Source: IMD)

Cumulative Rainfall Map up 09 Aug. 2015 (Source: IMD)

Cumulative Rainfall Map upto 09 Aug. 2015 (Source: IMD) It is clear deficit nationally and in Central India are rising. 

Overall performance of Monsoon 2015 depends on September rains: Skymet (07 Aug. 2015) According to Skymet, September holds high stake and performance of Monsoon depends on the rains in the last month of the Monsoon season after a bumper performance in June and almost normal one in July and August. See more at  Skymet may revise monsoon forecast again since June-July predictions off the mark

Indian summer monsoon patterns have varied through history: study (09 Aug. 2015) The Indian summer monsoon, known for its notorious unpredictability, can go through cycles that last longer than a millennium, according to a new study. Conducted by a team of researchers from China, India and the US, the study shows that the Indian summer monsoon went through extremely wet, dry, and very dry phases, between 31,550—13,050 BC, each phase lasting at least a thousand years.

DROUGHT 

Compounding drought situation, Maharashtra Govt. drained 350 MCM water to sea in July alone (09 Aug. 2015). “The collective amount of 2,535 MCM of live storage water in Koyna and Tata dams could be easily released into the Bhima-Krishna basins to benefit the whole river basin, right till the tail end in Krishna delta,” pointed out Parineeta Dandekar of South Asia Network of Dams Rivers and People (SANDRP). “Currently all this water is stored for future diversion to sea via Konkan.”

Drought situation in 38 mandals significatly increases number of migrants in Andhra Pradesh (03 Aug. 2015) Migration of labourers is not new to Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. However, this time farmers are also leaving — for Chennai, Hyderabad and other places — in search of livelihood, thanks to the drought-like situation in all 38 mandals. Around 45 per cent deficit rainfall in July has shattered the dreams of many and forced them to leave for faraway places.

Maharashtra’s artificial rain experiment failed twice (03 Aug. 2015) The experiment to generate artificial rains was unsuccessful on the second consecutive day at Saygoan village in Nashik district. The experiment is being conducted in drought-prone Yeola tehsil by a private Mumbai based agency – ‘International School of Professional Studies’ (ISPS) in association with Hind foundation.

 AGRICULTURE

Sugarcane and its inherent politics, in drought affected zones of Karnataka compounding farmers problems (04 Aug. 2015).While the fields are running red in Karnataka’s sugar belt with dozens of farmers deep in debt ending their lives over the past three months, a clutch of mills with links to top politicians from the state has failed to pay up hundreds of crores due to cultivators.Karnataka’s 65 sugar mills owe Rs 2,238.8 crore to farmers for the past two October-March sugarcane crushing seasons, government data show.

Villages in Jind (Haryana) getting benefits of practicing pesticide free farming (03 Aug. 2015) At a time when whiteflies have been troubling majority of cotton farmers in Haryana state in spite of repeated spraying of pesticides, farmers of Nidana village are expecting a bumper crop without the use of pesticides. Thanks to their special campaign “Know insects before killing them”, they have been successful in keeping whiteflies at bay this year, as has the case for six years since the start of the campaign aimed at promoting pesticide-free farming.

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra irrigation scam: Documents prove Kuntephal always an unfeasible project (04 Aug. 2015)  Good to see a detailed report on Krishna Marathwada Lift Irrigation Project and its several irregularities and infeasibilities, based on SANDRP’s work.

Maharashtra Water Resource Minister Girish Mahajan wants to punish the guilty without reviewing any fraudulent irrigation project (06 Aug. 2015) This is shocking. This means nothing changes in Maharashtra irrigation sector, all the wrong, corrupt decisions are okay:

1st time in 10 yrs, irrigation tenders get quotes lower than estimated in Maharashtra (08 Aug. 2015) The state water resources department, notorious for awarding irrigation contracts at hugely inflated rates to select contractors, wants to shed its scam-tainted image. Of the 68 irrigation tenders floated since the new government took over last November, as many as 30 contracts were awarded at prices below the official estimate. Contractors quoted 10% to 19% below the tender rate. Another 17 contracts were given at par, while 21 works were quoted above the estimate. Although all these contracts were for minor irrigation works, the message is clear:

Parched Andhra and Telangana continue to lock horns again over irrigation projects (08 Aug. 2015) At a time when drought conditions are staring at both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and their reservoirs remaining almost empty, half through the southwest monsoon, the two States are engaged in a war of words over one another’s irrigation projects taken up after bifurcation of combined AP. Apart from writing to the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Union Government, the two States have exchanged over a dozen letters during the couple of months accusing one another of taking up new irrigation projects without getting necessary permissions and in violation of AP Reorganisation Act.

Storage Status of 91 Important Reservoirs of The Country as on August 06, 2015. The Water storage available in 91 important reservoirs of the country as on August 06, 2015 was 78.366 BCM which is 50% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 93% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 99% of storage of average of last ten years.

WATER

GROUND WATER: Population growth, increased industrialization and irrigation biggest culprit behind ground water depletion (03 Aug. 2015) Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat informed the Rajya Sabha that The latest ground water monitoring data of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for pre-monsoon 2014, compared with decadal mean of pre-monsoon (2004-2013), indicates that out of total wells analyzed, around 39% of the wells are showing decline in ground water level in various parts of the Country. He also stated that out of 6607 assessment units (Blocks/ Mandals/ Talukas/ Districts) in the Country, 1071 units falling in 15 States and 2 UTs have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’.

URBAN WATER:  Ground water depletion not the dry reservoirs behind India’s worsening water crisis: Experts ( 07 Aug. 2015) “Our urban water problems are going to continue to mount and certainly more citizen efforts will be required to ensure that the right options are selected,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, River and People

WATER GOVERNANCE: Maharashtra conducted no arsenic test on drinking water in last 12 years (30 July 2015) Amazing that a state like Maharashtra has not checked Arsenic in drinking water for 12 years:

WATER OPTIONS:   29 Water Recycling Plants functioning across the country, 24 more  sanctioned : Railway Minister ( 05 Aug. 2015) In a written reply to Lok Sabha Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha, informed that Water Recycling Plants (WRPs) are already functioning at 29 major water consumption centres on Indian Railways. In addition, 32 railway stations handling large volume of passenger traffic and falling under ‘A-1’ & ‘A’ category have been identified during the current financial year for provision of WRPs duly considering techno-economic viability, out of which works of provision of WRPs at 24 stations have already been sanctioned.

Community revived pond, increases ground water table in Dwarka Delhi (07 Aug. 2015) The 200-year-old water body called ‘naya johad’ and located in Sector 23 Dwarka has already recharged the groundwater with 1 crore litre of water this monsoon in a short span of 23 days.The credit for its revival goes to the residents of the area and environmental activists who had put in physical labour to remove the silt, deepen the water body and channel the water while also pursuing the DDA for assistance.

Backed by Centre for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Technology, Pondicherry Panchayat shows eco-friendly and cost effective way of treating polluted water (06 Aug. 2015) The plant consists of sand bags placed in pits and channels, a sedimentation tank and a non-permeable sheet which ensures wastewater does not seep into the ground. Costing only around Rs. 15,000, the university team says that the plant is affordable.

Delhi Jal Board looking at using solar power to run installations (03 Aug. 2015) In a bid to reduce expenditure on electricity bill, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is looking at solar energy as an alternate source of power for running its installations. The Board has proposed to install Grid Connected Roof-top Solar PV system at its different installations and use the generated electricity for running them. The project comprises of three stages.

RIVERS

POLLUTION: Industries illegally discharge volume of untreated effluents into Chanda River in Adilabad, Telangana (07 July 2015) According to insiders, none of these industrial units have an effluent treatment plant installed or is not being used if installed in odd factory. The threat of pollution is more from the refineries and the solvent plants rather than the basic oil extraction units which dispose off almost all the polluting residual matter to detergent manufacturers.

A badass rapper channeled Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ to protest water and river pollution in India (02 Aug. 2015) The former Unilever thermometer factory in Kodaikanal, India, disposed of toxic mercury waste at a scrapyard in 2001, and in the time since, 45 people have died — and more than 500 have been affected. The success of the campaign has got the corporate giant nervous and forced it to clarify position on the issue. The company stated that it was “working actively” to find a solution to a long-pending dispute on ecology contamination.

FLOOD  Floods kill over 100 in five Indian states: MHA  (03 Aug. 2015) At least 102 people lost their lives and more than170 lakh people were affected in fresh floods due to excessive rains in worst-affected Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha, Manipur and Gujarat. While the death toll touched 48 in West Bengal, 28 died in Rajasthan and five in Odisha, as per a  Home Ministry statement. It also mentioned that a total of 36,90,627 people in 9,691 villages of 210 blocks in 12 districts in West Bengal have been affected due to floods, while a population of 40 lakh in Gujarat and 4,80,399 in Odisha. In West Bengal, 50 deaths have been reported from various parts of the state during the floods owing to lightening, wall collapse, electrocution, snake bite and drowning.

RIVER REVIVAL: Most River Front Developments projects sanctioned in Bengal, Bihar tops the funding allocation (06 Aug. 2015) State wise list of River Front Development projects. Source:- Press release of Water Resource Ministry’s reply to Lok Sabha Press

State River Front Development Projects
Sanctioned Projects (No.) Sanctioned Cost Rs.crore) Completed Projects  (No.) Projects under consideration(No.)
Uttarakhand 1
Uttar Pradesh 1 27.28 2
Bihar 1 243.27 4
Jharkhand 2
West Bengal 21 180.33 21 15
Total 23 450.88 21 24

SAND-MINING: MoEF plans to adopt new sand mining policy to stop flood water from entering forest areas (10 Aug. 2015) Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said that Centre plans to adopt a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas to stop flood waters from flowing into forests. since Supreme Court has imposed ban on mining activity in forested areas, riverbed level has risen and flood water spreads inside forest. He also said that this was the reason behin death of 10 Asiatic loins during recent Gujrat flood.

NARMADA: Shiv Visvanathan says that the most important historical event of the last two decades has been the battle over the Narmada dam (06 Aug. 2015) The battle over the Narmada dam reflects a journey, a pilgrimage, and a recollection of 30 years of resistance. Numbers alone cannot make sense of it because it demands a different kind of storytelling. This struggle is about a collective history of a people challenging the official history of a nation state. It is symbolic of all marginal struggles of the displaced, the landless, and that which is tribal. The calendar becomes an invitation to this new citizenship of memory. Because of the new ‘enthusiasm’ for development, which borders on fetishism, one forgets that the Narmada dam is an act of sacrilege across one of the most sacred of India’s rivers.

GANGA: Current Status of five Ganga tributaries being revived under GAP (06 Aug. 2015) Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in a written reply to Lok Sabha informed that under the Ganga cleaning programme – Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Ramganga and Kali are being revived. Meanwhile in a written reply to Rajya Sabha Uma Bharati informed that under Namami Gange Programme an amount of Rs. 2750 crore has been allotted for FY 2015-2016 which includes Rs. 100 crore for Ghat Works. She further stated that under Clean Ganga Mission, survey team comprised of various central agencies have identified 144 grossly polluting drains in five Ganga states (Uttrakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal) directly discharged to the river Ganga. Briefing about the progress made under Namami Gange she informed that the Cabinet has approved Rs. 20,000 crore for 5 years to revive Ganga and its key tributaries. She further stated that as of now 93 schemes including 82 investment projects in 55 towns along the river Ganga and Yamuna are under different stages of construction, out of which 26 projects have been completed.  She also said that CPCB, under the Pollution Inventorization Assessment and Surveillance Project (PIAS), has inventorised 764 Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) along the main stem of River Ganga. She also presented the status of State-wise proposals received for waste water projects and river front development which is as under:

Projects Sanctioned (Nos.) Detailed Project Reports received (Nos.)
State Waste Water Projects River front

Development

Waste Water Projects River front

Development

Uttrakhand 18 4 1
UP 14 22 2
Bihar 13 1 11 4
Jharkhand 1 1 2
West Bengal 6 5 15

From the Mississippi to the Ganges, river deltas are in major trouble (06 Aug. 2015) Most of the deltas showed at least some increased risk, and some showed quite a lot of it. In particular, the heavily populated Krishna and Ganges-Brahmaputra deltas had the most rapidly growing risk of flooding related disasters.

YAMUNA:  Centre and Delhi government to prepare Yamuna revival blueprint in 45 days (08 Aug. 2015)  The Centre and the Delhi Government have agreed to setup a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to clean and rejuvenate river Yamuna for which a blueprint would be prepared in 45 days. As per an official statement, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have agreed to set-up a SPV for this purpose. Both sides still cling to River Front Development which will do more harm to river than restoring it. Meanwhile a report of leading English daily highlights that raw sewage is choking River Yamuna like never before and in absence of adequate clean up systems and inefficiency of existing Sewage Treatment Plants. Further activist Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan in a detailed video interview to Lakshaba TV held lack of proper understating of river eco-system as the root causes responsible behind degradation of River Yamuna and other rivers in India.   

WETLANDS: Andhra Pradesh water diversion plan a threat on Kolleru lake  (04 Aug. 2015) Violating the RAMSAR convention, AP government plans to divert Budameru, Tammileru and 70 other streams that contribute to Kolleru lake, to the Polavaram Right Bank Main Canal, these were not even part of the project that got environmental clearance. As per the international Ramsar Convention, inflows to a protected wetland cannot be diverted for other purposes.

SOUTH ASIA

Geological Survey of India deliberately hid risks associated with 1200 MW Punatsangchu I hydroelectric dam: CAG & RAA (30 Aug. 2015) Very interesting report: “According to The Bhutanese newspaper a joint report by the Indian Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Royal Audit Authority of Bhutan (RAA) indicates major problems in the awarding of the 1200 MW Punatsangchu I hydroelectric dam. According to the report the Geological Survey of India knew that there might be “geological surprises” in the area, but the project was awarded to the Indian infrastructure giant Larsen & Toubro without investigating more into the extent of these surprises.

Hydropower plants choke rivers to death in Vietnam (10 Aug. 2015) A number of hydropower plants have been gradually killing the rivers which provide the people’s livelihoods. Every river in Ha Giang province has from three to six hydropower plants on it.

District Disaster Management Plan predicts Sunderbans vulnerable to floods and cyclones (04 Aug. 2014) A recent report submitted by the South 24 Parganas district administration to the State government has revealed that at least 8 lakh people in eight blocks in the Sunderbans area are vulnerable to cyclones and floods. The report titled ‘District Disaster Management Plan, South 24 Parganas, 2015’ paints a sorry picture of the flood and cyclone shelters in these blocks. In the district 13 blocks are in the Sunderbans.

Water rises dangerously in flood-hit Myanmar’s delta (07 Aug. 2015) The government Myanmar issued a flood warning for people living in the Ayeyarwady delta in Myanmar’s southwest. Elderly people, women and children were being moved out of dangerous areas. Kyaw Moe Oo, a deputy director from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said the impact of the water inflows could be widespread.

Monsoon floods kill 118 in Pakistan, thousands evacuated (03 Aug.2015) The National Disaster Management Authority reported that  flooding has affected more than 800,000 people in 2,275 villages. About 2,900 houses have collapsed or are partially damaged.

CHINA

Year’s worst Typhoon Soudelor causes mass drinking water contamination in Taiwan amid rising death and destruction toll (9 Aug. 2015) Water supply of about 5 million people is contaminated as flooding from Typhoon Soudelor which is seen as century’s worst typhoon has overwhelmed water purification systems in two citie.  In 2004 a similar typhoon contaminated potable water supply of 100,000 households following water cleaning process for a full month.  The Typhoon Soudelor has killed 14 in China; 100 missing, 7 dead in Taiwan.

WORLD

A Successful Push to Restore Europe’s Long-Abused Rivers (10 Dec.2013) From Britain to the Czech Republic, European nations have been restoring rivers to their natural state — taking down dams, removing levees, and reviving floodplains. For a continent that long viewed rivers as little more than shipping canals and sewers, it is a striking change by Fred Pearce.

Dams destroy ecological integrity of nature (06 Aug. 2015) This article advocates why hydropower dams need to be removed to free up rivers: “As two conservation biologists who study rivers, we believe it’s time to explore a dramatically different vision. It may be that hydro companies should not continue to act as the gatekeepers for what could otherwise be healthy rivers brimming with life.”

Faulty operation of Northwest dams in America turn Columbia and Snake Rivers water hotter causing mass extinction of Salmon (02 Aug.2015) Operation of the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers must change to restore salmon and steelhead runs.

Years old unresolved indifferences among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia stall Renaissance Dam work (07 Aug. 2015) Persisting differences among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan keep delaying the Renaissance dam impact studies, which Egypt hopes will prove that the dam’s construction will cause extensive problems for Egypt and Sudan. Egypt fears that it would lose about 3 million acres of agricultural land and 5 million to 6 million farmers would be displaced. Further the project could lead to periods of drought, deterioration of the water quality and a possible dam collapse causing severe flooding that could wipe out some of villages and cities, particularly in Sudan.

City of Spokane initiate legal actions against Monsanto for polluting Spokane river (06 Aug. 2015) The city of Spokane is suing the international agrochemical company Monsanto, claiming the company knowingly sold harmful chemicals for decades, resulting in the pollution of the Spokane River. San Diego filed a similar lawsuit against Monsanto in March 2015 for the pollution of San Diego Bay, and Monsanto released a similar statement claiming that they had no financial liability for the effects of the PCBs.

Toxic mine water accidentally released by EPA in Colorado river will hit irrigation and potable water supply (07 Aug. 2015) An estimated 1m gallons of the orange-brown water broke free from a shoddy dam and is flowing down the Animas River toward a lake in a national park. The water will also move through Native American reservation land, possibly impacting drinking and agricultural waters as it joins the San Juan River. EPA officials also admitted that the impacts of the spill could stretch years into the future.

Canadians rank among world’s top water hogs (08 Aug. 2015) Global cities that conserve the most water use incentives, new technologies and metering. Canada’s price of water is among the lowest in the world and its consumption is among the highest.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Impact of climate change: Death toll by heat waves in 2015 abnormally high, 2001-10 warmest decade: Dr. Harsh Vardhan (05 Aug. 2015) Dr. Harsh Vardhan Union Minister for Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences said that 2001-2010 period was warmest decade for India and planet earth. He further stated that 2037 people died due to heat waves in 2015 which is abnormal. He also informed the Lok Sabha that all India mean temperature has risen nearly around 0.60 C over the last 110 years in line with the rising temperature across the globe. Details of the Heat Wave/Sun Stroke related deaths are given below:

State Number of deaths
Andhra Pradesh 1,369
Telangana 541
Odisha 67
Uttar Pradesh 22
West Bengal 13
Gujarat 10
Madhya Pradesh 10
Delhi 5
Total 2037

Centre to fund 350 crores aid to climate change vulnerable States (04 Aug. 2015) Informing Lok Sabha Environment Minister, Prakash Javedkar stated that Centre Govt. has made a budget provision of 352 crore for financial year of 2015-16  to help States which are vulnerable to impact of climate change under National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change. He also mentioned various initiatives taken by Govt. at domestic level to address climate change.

El Nino to cause intense heat waves in 2016 (04 Aug. 2015) The strengthening El Nino could not only affect monsoon rainfall, but also Rabi crops and summer heatwaves:

Paris Agreement: France to set up co-operative mechanism to fight climate change (03 Aug. 2015) France, which is chairing the December round of the UN-sponsored climate talks in Paris, is working towards setting up a mechanism to help countries address specific challenges to adopting climate-friendly, low-carbon development options. It has stressed that a co-operative approach—”what every country can do, and how we can do better together”—will be the essence of the Paris Agreement. Countries have agreed to finalise and adopt a new agreement in Paris to tackle the global challenge of climate change. An agreement at this stage become effective from 2020.

Obama to unveil tougher climate change plan (03 Aug. 2015) President Barack Obama will unveil on Monday the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, kicking off what is expected to be a tumultuous legal battle between federal environmental regulators and the coal industry. The revised Clean Power Plan will seek to slash carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, a 9 percent increase over a previous proposal.

ENVIRONMENT                                                       

Public consultation on Western Ghats a sham: report (07 Aug. 2015) Counted among the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, the Western Ghats is currently at the centre of a political battle pitting local ‘development’ needs against conservation efforts. Meanwhile, a citizens’ report compiled by campaign organisation Jhatkaa released last month has exposed the sham in the name of public consultations organised by the State governments while framing recommendations.

New power plants face strain on insufficient off-take agreements: India Ratings (04 Aug. 2015) While 13900 MW power plants commissioned since April 2014 are facing low offtakes and transmission constraints, with the power exchange prices remaining around Rs 2.35-2.5 per unit, this also has implications for capacities lined up for near future:

India’s report to UN sets solar target at 20,000 Mw (06 Aug. 2015) The government has readied a climate change report for the UN, which could open the door for scrutiny of Indian economic policy and Parliamentary processes by other countries. It could also lead to some embarrassment for the Modi government by questioning its publicly announced Solar power targets.

One Comment on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin August 10, 2015

  1. This practice to prepare and post bulletin is really a good job being done by the SANDRP. In future if you will compile, edit and publish it as YEAR BOOK, it will be an intellectual asset to water world. Regards

    ARUN

    Like

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