Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, August 24, 2015

MAHARASHTRA DROUGHT

Stop westward diversion of water from Bhima-Krishna basin:SANDRP (21 Aug. 2015) The Report is based on interview of Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP and provides the steps that the Maharashtra govt can take to reduce drought and water scarcity in Maharashtra, starting with stoppage of westward diversion from Bhima-Krishna basin. This is based on Open Letter to Mahrashtra written by Parineeta Dandekar in the context of Marathawada drought and analysis of Marathawada drought by Parineeta Dandekar.

SANDRP has also written an Open letter to Tata Sustainability Group to stop westward diversion of Bhima basin water by Tata Hydro projects. SANDRP’s response to Tata Power on this issue was earlier published on August 17, 2015

Other significant reports on Maharashtra drought:

Four states, five crops seen most at risk from deficient monsoon (20 Aug. 2015) Crisil Research report titled ‘Angsty Farms’ disclose that four Indian states (Bihar, Karnataka, UP, Maharashtra) which produce over one-third of India’s foodgrains and five crops (jowar, soyabean, tur, maize, cotton likely to be hit) that add up to more than a quarter of the production of grains and oilseeds, are vulnerable to this year’s deficit monsoons. There is report of deficit monsoon to cause dip of 4.6% in annual food grain production during 2014-15.

DAMS

Polavaram Dam: Odisha CPI (M) leads protest (19 Aug. 2015) Over 3,000 tribals and Dalits, including women, under the banner of CPI (M), held a 24-hour protest in front of the Malkangiri District Collector’s office against Polavaram multi-purpose project of Andhra Pradesh.

Oustees of Veda dam start ‘Jal Satyagraha’ in Madhya Pradesh (21 Aug. 2015) The residents of Udaipur village of Kharogne district of Madhya Pradesh, which is facing submergence due to increase in water level of Beda dam, starts ‘Jal Satyagraha’ to oppose the increase in height of the dam from 300 to 314 metres. This is in violation of Supreme Court order that directs prior rehabilitation of dam oustees as pre-condition for raising the dam height. Oustees says that since the SC order in 2011 more than 300 affected farmers had submitted their application for rehabilitation but nothing was done and now they increasing water level of dam. The affected villagers of Sardar Sarovar Project has written letters to PM for the review of rise in SSP dam height

Tehri Dam oustees face many problems even after 10 years of commissioning of the project (18 Aug. 2015) Even after 10 years of commissioning of Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand, oustees have to continuously send letters to the state government regarding their problems. Displaced people along with Matu Jansangathan sent a letter to Chief Minister, Harish Rawat in which they said that many of their problems could be solved at the level of the state government.

MANIPUR: Woes of Mapithel Dam downstream affected people Protest meeting recommends impact assessment (17 Aug. 2015) Mapithel dam on Thoubal river in Manipur continue to bring misery and hardships for local communities. Leaks in dam have rendered downstream communities to sleepless nights. Villagers are compelled to become refugees in their own land. On the other hand blockade of river is subkerging livelihoods of upstream communities. Local people complain that the dam has failed to consider downstream impacts. In a strange development, water released from Mapithel Dam through canals has become quite stinky and some cattle and dogs which drank the stinky water have died. Moreover, some people who used water released from Mapithel Dam are now suffering from skin diseases. On the other hand, people living in the downstream blocked the road leading to the dam site thereby preventing transportation of dam construction materials.

‘No sluice gate in 22 years, Mandal dam in Jharkhand lying non-functional’ 40 more completed dams lying useless in India (20 Aug. 2015) On a inspection to Mondal dam Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar felt surprised and stated that there are about 40 dams completed but non-functional in various parts of the country including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 1993-built Mandal Dam in the state could not be made functional even after after 22 years of its construction as its sluice gate was not set up. One more news report discloses that Centre Govt. is mulling completion of stalled dam project. The report says that Prakash Javadekar has promised to end  40-year-old deadlock and complete the Kutku Dam project in Latehar, Bihar.

Claiming progress in talks with Nepal for the construction of Sapt Koshi High Dam, Union Water Resources Minister Sushri Uma Bharti approved flood relief proposals for Bihar (18 Aug. 2015) As per the press release Uma Bharti briefed that Government of India has held talks with government of Nepal to find ways of reducing the severity of flood in the Bihar. Also see current status of various Irrigation Projects, Namami Gange Programme, Flood Management Programme and Inter Basin Water Transfer schemes in Bihar State. Meanwhile  Bihar water resources minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary has refuted the claims of Uma Bharti saying that  PM Narendra Modi never discussed Sapt- Kosi with his Nepal counterpart to save bordering districts of Bihar from deluge. In the meantime, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, in its agenda for the Aug 24-25, 2015, has included an agenda (one of the 14 items on the agenda of the meeting) “Development of Command Area and Canal System in North Bihar proposed to be brought under Irrigation through Sapta Kosi High Dam Multipurpose Project and Sun Kosi Storage-cum-Diversion Barrage by M/s. Sapta Kosi Sun Kosi Investigation, Government of Nepal & Government of India – for consideration of TOR.” SANDRP has written to EAC, highlighting why it wont be appropriate for EAC to consider the Command Area Development aspects when there is no finality or clarity about the source dam and the related parameters.

रातई बांध (Rajasthan) की सुरक्षा दीवार टूटी, बारां जिले चार गांव पानीपानी (19 Aug. 2015) बारांजिले के समरानियां कस्बे के समीप स्थित रातई बांध के वेस्टवियर की सुरक्षा दीवार मंगलवार सुबह साढ़े 6 बजे टूट गई। इससे बड़ी नदी नहराई नदी में जबरदस्त उफान गया। कस्बे का अन्य गांवों और कस्बों से संपर्क कट गया। समरानियां सहित चार अन्य गांवों में पानी भर गया। कस्बे सहित चार गांव के लोग दहशत में हैं।

HYDROPOWER

KERALA: Athirapally HEP This is indeed great to see: Kadar tribesmen of Vazhachal forest will sue experts who furnished “false information” on tribal settlements for clearing the Athirappilly power project. The decision was taken at the Oorukoottam(tribal council) of Kadar tribe in Vazhachal held on Sunday, which unanimously rejected the power project. The unaccountable experts pandering all kinds of false information needs to held responsible for their wrong doing.

HIMACHAL PRADESH Public pressure forces SJVNL to scrap construction of twin tunnel in much delayed 601 MW Luhri hydro power project (19 Aug. 2015) Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited  has decided to construct the much-delayed 601 mw Luhri power project on the Sutlej in three phases, scrapping its earlier proposal to construct 38-km twin tunnels. The Satluj Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (SBSS), which was against the construction of tunnels, welcomed decision while its petition is still pending in the National Green Tribunal. The Samiti still fears that the dam built in toe will change the micro climate of the area and suggest the company not to create any reservoir.

Larji Dam in Himachal Pradesh faced another mishap on Aug 21, 2015, when sudden release of water from the tunnel of the dam flooded downstream areas, creating panic. The news report did not entirely explain the reason for the mishap, though.

NIPEF: Opening flood gates of Bhakra, Pong dams caused huge loss (17 Aug. 2015) Interesting to see this charge from Northern India Power Engineers Federation, but there is no suggestion how this could have been avoided.

Singapore company investing in Greenko Group Plc (18 Aug. 2015) Government of Singapore Investment Corp. P Ltd and US-based EIG Global Energy Partners Llc are investing in Greenko Group Plc, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market. Notably Greenko owns many hydro power projects in India.

FLOODS

ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Flood scene grim in State (22 Aug. 2015) All rivers including Lohit, Kamlang, Berreng, Tengapani and Jengthu are flowing above the danger level and communication between Alubari and Tezu has been disrupted. A report from Lohit stated that Changliang, Dhivajinagar, Khoraliang, Denning nallah, 32 mile, Duraliang, Danglat, Loiliang, Sunpura and Yealiang villages were badly affected due to flood water. Wire crated Guide wall 80 m near Changliang Village has been damaged and flood water threatens to enter it.  Lohit basin in particularly continued to face floods on Aug 23, 2015.

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Telangana objects Karnataka’s plan to barrage across Krishna (19 Aug. 2015) The ongoing construction of a gated barrage across river Krishna on the upstream of confluence of Krishna and Bhima rivers near Gurjapur village in Raichur taluk for ensuring uninterrupted water supply to Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) suffered another blow after Telangana strongly protested against the project.

MONSOON

Skymet initiate web campaign to help farmers with weather forecast (22 Aug. 2015) Skymet, the nation’s sole private weather forecaster, has started a social media campaign called #HelpTheFarmer, asking social media users to spread monsoon forecast to farmers who may not have access to the internet.

Cherrapunji breaks 10-year record as extremely heavy Monsoon rains continue to drench it (19 Aug. 2015) With Monsoon trough continuing to run across the Himalayan foothills, Cherrapunji has been receiving three-digit rainfall for last five consecutive days. Heavy to extremely heavy showers have been already lashing it making a new record of whopping 471.7 mm of rain during last 24 hours and breaking the decade old highest rainfall record which stands at 407.7 mm. Also read; AccuWeather meteorologists anticipate that Indian monsoon will withdraw faster resulting in early starting of dry season. One more news report claims that South-West monsoon has failed South India as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have received deficit rainfall.

AGRICULTURE

Private wells and paddy farming are causing desertification in Tamil Nadu (18 Aug. 2015) Most of these districts under such stress also happen to have large areas under farmland. It is quite likely that the reason for such an accelerating rate of ground water depletion is agricultural practice. The only piece of data we need to look at to come to that conclusion is the demand estimate of various sectors. Domestic water use, often decried as wasteful, forms three per cent of the total demand. Irrigation takes 93 per cent. Therefore, any attempt to understand Tamil Nadu’s water resources should start with agriculture.

Bitter harvest: Sugar’s moment of reckoning (19 Aug. 2015) A very informative news report revealing that the Central and state governments have contributed greatly to the current woes facing cane growers.

Unregulated prices, shortage of labours in Punjab behind shift of chilli hub to wheat-paddy (21 Aug. 2015) The farmers of Khalra-Bhikhiwind belt, along the Pakistan border, have stopped growing red chillies and have shifted to wheat-paddy farming.This has happened despite successive state governments harping on diversification of crops due to the post-Green Revolution stagnation in agricultural yield and the effects of wheat-paddy monoculture on soil health and water table.

IRRIGATION

CAG exposes issues with Maharashtras water projects again, but this time it is Minor Irrigation projects: “Audit revealed that in four ZPs (Akola, Amravati, Chandrapur and Sangli) the IP utilised against the IP created was drastically low and ranged between 6% and 19% during 2009-14,” it said, while adding that the rural development and water conservation department had acknowledged that quality control mechanisms in ZPs to monitor the implementation of MU works was non-existent.”

Storage Status of 91 Important Reservoirs of the Country as on August 20, 2015 The Water storage available in 91 important reservoirs of the country as on August 20, 2015 was 91.073 BCM which is 58% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 88% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 92% of storage of average of last ten years.

Sustainable solar irrigation? (17 Aug. 2015) The central government wants to give capital subsidies for 100,000 solar pumps in five years. India has 19 million electric pumps, reportedly accounting for 22 per cent of power sales (against eight per cent of power revenues). The agriculture power subsidy burden was close to Rs 67,000 crore ($10 billion) in 2013-14 and has been rising steadily. Despite such high government expenditures, farmers have to contend with unreliable and poor quality power supply. On this account and due to long wait times for new connections, more than 9 million diesel pumpsets are also being used in India, which are both expensive to run and environmentally hazardous.

GROUND WATER: Groundwater contamination:Punjab govt turns to canals for drinking water (19 Aug. 2015) With the state’s groundwater contaminated, not only by general pollutants but also with heavy metals and radioactive uranium, the Punjab government has decided to turn to canals for potable water. The state government has chosen Moga and Barnala districts for a Rs 300-crore pilot project, under which, water from canals would be purified at treatment plants before being supplied to residents.

URBAN WATER: A small but shocking video shows municipal council in Nashik district dumping 6 tonnes of garbage daily in Vaitarna River which is source of potable water for people in Mumbai (21 Aug. 2015) The water supplied to homes in the western suburbs and certain areas of Mumbai may contain chemical residue, posing serious health risks. The source of the contamination is around 25km from the Vaitarna River in Nashik district, where daily more than six tonnes of waste from Igatpuri. What’s worse, is the water is treated only once; that too at a 30-year-old treatment plant in Bhandup. After the Hindustan Times (Mumbai) featured this, the BMC has threatend to crack down on the official agency, great to see this media impact.

Sewage treatment in Bengaluru inefficient: ATREE (16 Aug. 2015) Sounds familiar?: “While total installed capacity is much lower than total sewage generated in Bangalore, the existing STPs are underutilized, and worse, they function far below acceptable levels of efficiency.”

ASI, Civic Agencies not helping cleaning of Tughlakabad toxic lake: Delhi Jal Boad to HC (13 Aug.2015) Delhi Jal Board replied to Delhi high Court that it had run into several hurdles while trying to carry out the court’s instructions about cleaning up the “poison lake” behind Tughlakabad.

WATER OPTIONS: Adopt Rain Water Harvesting as a Rule in all Govt. projects:NGT (21 Aug. 2015) It will indeed be great if this gets systematically implemented. In another development High Court of Delhi has asked Delhi Jal Board to give detail of Rain Water Harvesting Scheme. The Jal Board surprisingly has done no follow up of the scheme and replied to court that it provides 10 percent rebates on water bills to the resident those harvest rain water. One more news report reveals that New Delhi Municipal Corporation will create  40 rainwater harvesting structures at prime locations in Lutyen’s Delhi which will also help restore depleting groundwater table.

POLLUTION:              Water pollution leads to fish catch dip in India in 2014 (19 Aug. 2015) A very small but interesting report revealing fish population and consumption growing globally despite dip in fish catch in India in 2014 mainly due to water pollution.

Walk to School is daily trudge through sludge (20 Aug. 2015) Lack of bridge has forced students of Sathe Nagar in Mankhurd into drain full of sewage and industrial waste; residents warn of injury and health risk.

SAND MINING: Wildlife experts oppose MP government move to allow sand mining in Son-Chambal Ghariyal sanctuaries (18 Aug. 2015) Madhya Pradesh government’s attempts to lease out parts of Son and Chambal ghariyal sanctuaries for sand mining met with stiff opposition at the recently held state wildlife board meeting in Bhopal. Objecting to government move, some members said it was illegal and was not permitted by Wildlife Protection Act. Illegal sand mining is a big menace in both Son and Chambal sanctuaries- that house one of the last surviving habitats of endangered ghariyal, Indian skimmer (Rynchops albicollis) and some other aquatic life.

Large-scale illegal mining rampant in UP, reveals CAG report (19 Aug. 2015) The CAG observed that the scrutiny of the records in the departments of the geology and mining has revealed instances of short realisation of royalty and interest, unauthorised extraction, non-conformity of government orders with rules, among other irregularities.

RIVERS:  When Godavari Comes: People’s History of a River A Review of R Umamaheshwari’s book.

GANGA: Even treated water should not be released into Ganga: Uma Bharti (22 Aug. 2015) Speaking in a seminar on Groundwater in Haryana, Water Resource Minister expressed that her govt. is leaving stone unturned to make Ganga among 10 cleanest rivers in the world which is now listed in 10 dirtiest rivers. She again openly criticied dam projects which kill rivers and accepted that Yamuna ceases to be a river from Hathini Kund Barrage. Meanwhile according to this news report Rhine river revival works inspire Indian Govt.  pretty much and now a team of officials from the water resources ministry will travel to Europe to see how countries including Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France and Netherlands managed the river system which once were pollution laden. Exactly contrary to this (West impressed by India’s river revival work.), a Stockholm based water group has invited Mr. Alok Kumar a 1998 batch IAS officer to deliver a presentation on the revial work of Paundhoi a small tributary of Hindion in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

YAMUNA: Delhi govt seeks foreign help to clean up Yamuna (18 Aug. 2015) The Capital wrote to various countries for suggestions, technological expertise; Israel, Australia gave a presentation on it. The embassies of Israel and Australia have suggested ways to clean the Yamuna and develop its riverbed on the Delhi government’s request. In an interesting development a news report discloses that Signature Bridge awaits green nod. It further says that the construction work is in full swing but the structure is yet to get environmental clearance from the State-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) as ordered by the tribunal on February 12. Meanwhile Haryana government agrees to two new bridges on the Yamuna to connect Noida to Faridabad. Last month Delhi Govt. has also planned to build couple of more bridges over Yamuna. Construction of too many bridges over a small stretech of river has severe impact on it. They fragment the floodplains and hinder smooth passage of flood water thus increasing flooding risk to adjoining human habitats.

Environmentalist criticised MoEF move of significantly reducing Okhala Bird Sanctuary Eco-Sensitive Zone  (20 Aug. 2015) They have termed it ‘arbitrary and illogical’. Earlier Government had issued Final Notification on Eco Sensitive Zone Around Okhla Bird Sanctuary under which the area of Eco Sensitive Zone has been reduced significantly. On the other hand an informative news report says that Majority of ecologically sensitive zones still not notified. The report also reveals that Environment ministry okays only 26 zones out of 452 proposed.

SOUTH ASIA

Pak. Climate ministry objects to Punjab govt’s transportation through Indus initiative   (17 Aug. 2015)  This is such a great news from Pakistan! Firstly to know that there is an official agency called Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC). We in India have none as far as I know. Secondly to know that this institute is so forthright in critiquing the Inland Water Transport proposal of Punjab (Pak) provincial govt, and in such clear scientific terms! We in India have not seen that from any official agency. ANd thirdly, to know such proposals need EIA, EMP and initial Env Examination! We in India do not have that either! We can learn so much from this!

Pakistan plans to reformulate national water policy in the climate change context: The report says: “Regarding trans-boundary water sharing, the draft says provisions in the Indus Water Treaty for unlimited hydropower development in the upper catchments has the potential of threatening water availability in the lower catchments during low-flow periods. The draft adds that the treaty did not provide for minimum environmental downstream flows to international boundaries for the eastern rivers, which has exposed downstream populations to serious environment hazards. At the same time, upstream developments on the Kabul River are being planned with no formal agreement on sharing water from the river, the report says.”

Pakistan: Take heed of recent floods, environmentalists tell govt (19 Aug. 2015) Deforestation, embankment and destruction of local water bodies are worsening flood situation in Pakistan.

Mangdechu in Bhutan – another significant landslide at a hydroelectric power plant site (14 Aug. 2015) There is a major landslide at under construction Mangdechu HEP in Bhutan on Aug 14, 2015, killing five people (all non Bhutanese, names not made public so far) and risking many others. India’s Jaiprakash Associates is the contractor and this seems to be a case of neglect. Why was the work going on in monsoon when these areas are prone to landslides. In fact on July 15, 2015, four weeks before the fatal accident, the work at the site was stopped for fear of landslide and for arresting the fall of boulders, they seems to have done a shoddy job of that too. Kuensel report on Aug 17 of this incident, bodies still to be recovered, three days after the incident. Also read Slide buries five in MHPA dam pit.

Action against Coke by Sri Lanka’s Central Environment Authority: The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has suspended the Environmental Protection License of beverage giant Coca-Cola over an incident which occurred on Monday where ‘diesel’ from an underground fuel pipe had leaked into the Kelani river basin.

Chinese funding pours into Sri Lanka hydropower projects (17 Aug. 2015) Chinese investors, banks and companies are looking to finance hydropower projects in Sri Lanka Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) announced to grant a $US82 million loan to construct a 35 MW hydropower project in Kithulgala, 90 miles northeast of Colombo. Project developers also plan to build a dam across the Kelani River; along with a tunnel – 3.5-km long – that would connect a hydropower plant to be established in Yatiyanthota.

Hurricane Katrina’s lessons for the world (19 Aug. 2015) This advocates for long term planning for coastal areas including in India and Bangladesh.

The need for disaster orientation of the Indian media (Aug 21 2015) In a country where nothing sells better than cricket, item girls and promises of politicians, talk of sustained interest of the media on disaster mitigation seems a long call, says Siddharth Varadrajan at a seminar ‘Reporting Disasters: A Southasian Challenge’, that was organized by Himal South Asia, in New Delhi on August 19.

ASIA

Central Asian glaciers thaw fast in threat to hydro power, farms (17 Aug. 2015) GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences study reveals that Global warming is likely to quicken the thaw in the vast Tien Shan range in coming years, melting half the remaining ice by the 2050s. According to the study mountain glaciers in Central Asia have shrunk four times faster than the world average, threatening river flows vital for agriculture and hydro power from Uzbekistan to western China.

Cambodia dam’s benefits exclude people in its vicinity (19 Aug. 2015) A team of researchers from the University of London in the United Kingdom and the Cambodia Development Resource Institute based in Cambodia finds that the construction of the 193 MW Kamchay Dam in Cambodia, though beneficial to urban areas, has not been so good for those who live close to the dam site in Kampot province. Study discovers negative effects of Cambodia’s first major hydropower project unwrapping that dam construction has limited residents’ access to nearby forests for their livelihood. Researchers also suggest list policy recommendations to make dam projects socially viable.

Advancing Melen Dam Construction in Istanbul causes great nostalgia in local residents (20 Aug. 2015) While the construction of Melen Dam is wrapping up, people who have to migrate from the villages in the dam’s path feel sorrow and anxiety stemming from having to leave their land as The houses and other estates that will be submerged under the water storage basin of the dam have been notified and evacuated. The Melen Dam, which is located in the northwestern Düzce province close to Istanbul, will be 124 meters high and will be second-biggest dam project following the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). Area locals received the expropriated price and established new lives in the nearby districts and provinces, and all buildings in the area began to be demolished last year.

WORLD

Fearing earthquake & ecological risks California is demolishing the San Clemente Dam (20 Aug. 2015) Amid worst drought, largest dam removal work is underway in California. The report says that built in 1921 San Clemente Dam on Carmel River in Monterey County was declared earthquake unsafe in 1991 by the state’s agency for dam safety. It further reveals that according to the National Inventory of Dams within California, 42 percent of the state’s dams are privately owned, and more than half of the dams in the total registry (685 dams out of the 1,248 listed) are considered “high-hazard potential,” meaning their failure could cause loss of human life. On the other hand Californian farmers, Bay Delta are at risk of unapproved and expensive water diversion project (19 Aug. 2015) California has outlined a plan to move forward with an unapproved, $15 billion water diversion project, including possibly seizing farmland through eminent domain, new documents reveal. Critics fear the plan will turn the Bay Delta into a salty desert. Also read that Even in the drought, America is leaking water (21 Aug. 2015). It seems water crisis in America is going to worsen as Landsat 8 satellite captured images shows that Lake Mead’s Water Sinks to Lowest Level Since 1930s (20 Aug. 2015)

The three wonders of the ancient world solving modern water problems (19 Aug. 2015) The story upholds India’s stepwells (Baolis) as time-proven and effecient way to conserve rain water among Sand dams in Kenya and suqakollos – or waru-warus – (patterned system of raised cropland and water-filled trenches) in Peru.

Columbia River-keeper sues company over alleged river pollution (12 Aug. 2015) A Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit group called Columbia Riverkeeper has filed a federal lawsuit against a Washington state heavy equipment company claiming it’s polluting the river with industrial waste. The group claims Vancouver-based Electro Incorporated is violating its state-issued Industrial Storm water General Permit and the federal Clean Water Act.

Zambia Faces Crisis as Biggest Man-Made Reservoir Dries Up (18 Aug. 2015) The last time Munandi Siatambika remembers Lake Kariba being this empty was 20 years ago. As the world’s largest man-made reservoir dries, the economic fortunes of Zambia continue to fall.

Animus and many other river facing threats of another toxic mine spill (Aug. 2015) The report says that according to the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining & Safety there are an estimated 23,000 abandoned mines in Colorado. Of those, 230 are leaking wastewater laced with heavy metals into headwaters of major rivers. The contaminated waterways including stretches of the Animas, Arkansas, Eagle, Big Thompson, Gunnison, South Platte, and Uncompahgre rivers, and are clustered around historic mining towns such as Silverton, Leadville, Ouray, and Salida.

Forest health in a changing world (20 Aug. 2015) This interesting news report on the special issue of Science says that human has transformed large areas of natural forest and our impacts are not limited in temperate regions any longer but extending to forests in the tropics and the boreal zone. The report further reveals that only a fraction of the forests present centuries ago have escaped human influence; in many regions the forest is gone, has regrown as secondary forest, or consists of managed and plantation forests. Humans have also introduced new species, including pests and pathogens of trees. Other influences—such as climate warming that causes tree species to shift geographically and anthropogenic drought that causes forest dieback—take effect more slowly and may occur far from their source.

CLIMATE CHANGE

El Niño: Why now is the time to act (17 Aug. 2015) This shows how severe was the impact of last big El Nino in 1997-98 and warns that present one could have worse impacts: “The 1997/98 El Niño cycle, one of the most severe on record, caused a 15% spike in poverty rates in some countries and cost governments in the region up to $45 billion. With 500 million more people living in areas with severe water stress and a regional economy three times larger, the current El Niño event could cost Asia and the Pacific many multiples of that. Now is the time to coordinate, to prepare, and to act.” Also read, A new review paper in Nature Climate Change suggests that Climate change is set to fuel more “monster” El Niños (17 Aug. 2015) as the much-anticipated El Niño gaining strength in the Pacific is shaping up to be one of the biggest on record. With a few months still to go before it reaches peak strength, many are speculating it could rival the record-breaking El Niño in 1997/8. One more study finds that Climate change and El Nino made the Texas floods worse (19 Aug. 2015). Meanwhile NASA concluded that

July was the Earth’s hottest month on record – while 2015 could be the warmest year, scientists say: NOAA  (21 Aug. 2015) One another similar report from NASA claims that June was Earth’s warmest month. Anyhow both reports accepted that 2015 is the warmest year in record.

Climate Change Impact in Uttarakhand: Brahmakamal scanty, too few flowers in Valley of Flowers (17 Aug. 2015) Brahmkamal, the official state flower of Uttarakhand, are not so profuse this year in the high altitude forest divisions like Valley of Flowers National Park, Badrinath Forest Division, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Rudraprayag Roopkund and Tehri Forest Division. Other flowering species too are growing less profuse. The forest department, fearing climate change is impacting flowering, has proposed a study of the phenomenon.

(Previous DRP News Bulletin dated Aug 17, 2015: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/dams-rivers-people-news-bulletin-august-17-2015/)

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