DRP News Bulletin, Sep 21, 2015: Buddhist Monpas, Black-necked Cranes & Nyamjang Chhu Project

Rohan Chakraborty’s cartoon on the threat from 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu hydel project to Black- necked Cranes revered by the Buddhist Monpas of Tawang.

HYDROPOWER

UTTARAKHAND: Hydro Power companies, BRO, PWD still dumping debris in Uttarakhand rivers, forest department under pressure as administration and judiciary stand in defence of culprits  MOST SHOCKING STATE OF AFFAIRS IN UTTARAKHAND HYDRO AND RIVERS: “SS Rasailey, director of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve said, “BRO and PWD have been throwing all the road construction-related garbage into the rivers on a regular basis. Similarly, companies behind the THDC run Pipalkoti-Vishnuprayag and NTPC-run Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel projects have been doing this as well, despite the fact that all of them have to dispose waste on a separate piece of land as per the guidelines. While they show that they are following the rules on paper, in reality they don’t.” Rasailey added that while forest officials have taken up this issue, filing cases and even getting the people arrested for alleged waste disposal in Chamoli district, they have not received cooperation from the administration or the judiciary in prosecuting the big companies which are among the violators.

This story sheds light on the plight of people displaced by Tehri Dam as thousands of them are still waiting for proper compensation and rehabilitation. The woes of the displaced people never end. Himangshu Thakkar of SANDRP, who has been working on issues associated with large dams, warned of playing with rivers, “With dams, our politicians are inviting disaster and playing with the lives of people, the Himalayas, the Ganges and future generations. They didn’t learn anything from the June 2013 disaster”.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH MoEFCC massive clearance spree of Arunachal hydro power projects bound to have repercussions as there have been no public consultations in Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. Surprisingly, Subansiri river basin study was not even listed among the 14 subjects that were placed for discussion. However, this did not stop the Committee from taking a decision to go ahead with 26 projects. On 3097 MW Etalin by Jindal group on Dibang, the EAC has recommended  primary surveys only in monsoon, not in winter and pre-monsoon, which experts  say is an attempt to enable faster clearances while compromising ecological and social security as lot of use of areas by people and wildlife is in winter and pre-monsoon, not just monsoon.

Meanwhile Heavy rains wreaks havoce in Arunachal’s Dibang Valley. Though the rains have ceased and floods have started receding, it has left a trail of deluge in Arunachal Pradesh, with at least two rivers changing course, forcing villagers to flee leaving behind their belongings including valuable livestock. The entire village of Anpum in Lower Dibang Valley has been washed away by the Taro Tamuk and Dotung, both tributaries of the Dibang that flows down to the Brahmaputra in Assam, with over 1500 people now waiting for the authorities to find them a suitable alternative location where they will be rehabilitated. At least 20 houses in Loklung village have been also damaged.

Also see Rohan Chakraborty’s cartoon on the threat from 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu hydel project to Black- necked Cranes revered by the Buddhist Monpas of Tawang.

JAMMU & KASHMIR Kishanganga HEP: J & K High Court seeks Govt. response on residents’ rehab plea The 330 MW Kishanganga HEP  involves major issues including displacement of the people, loss of Agricultural Land , loss of livelihood, loss of customs and usages of the displaced tribal people besides issue of environmental degradation and loss of numerous endemic varieties of medicinal/plantation.

J&K is to get additional power from Baglihar-II project. Environmentalists, however, have expressed serious concern over the increasing number of power projects on the Chenab. They said torrential rains, cloudbursts and massive landslides were the new dangers confronting the people of erstwhile Doda due to creation of 30-km-long reservoir in the region. The region falls in Seismic Zone IV.

Also see how Defunct lift irrigation scheme in Shopian district of South Kashmir irks apple growers The locals complain that the lift irrigation scheme in the area that was established in 2008 for 850 Kanals of apple orchards have became defunct and despite repeated pleas the officials are not taking any notice of the problem. The locals said that their sole source of income is being hit by the defunct motor and appealed the authorities to repair the motor or windup the scheme. It seems that the defunct motors have become common feature of lift irrigation projects pan nation.

MAHARASHTRA DROUGHT A shocking news report discloses In Drought-Hit Marathwada, A Sugar Mill Owner ‘Downgrades’ to Mercedes Great report from Srinivasan Jain, VASU, of NDTV, on Marathwada Sugar Cane puzzle, how a Rs 55 lakh Mercedes is seen by the Sugar Baron as sign of austerity when the drought hit dry Marathwada has record area under the water guzzling sugarcane crop even as over 90% of the cultivable land has no help from the paltry irrigation water that is cornered by the sugarcane.

In the article Parched lips, barren lands and the scramble for water in Maharashtra author Aarti Kelkar India Water Portal explores the factors that have turned Marathwada region to be known as the ‘suicide capital for farmers’. This is detailed and informative, but one of the elephants in the room that this article misses is the westward diversion of water from drought prone Bhima-Krishna basins to High Rainfall Konkan region.

Meanwhile Mumbai High Court asks govt to ‘reconsider’ release of dam water for Nashik Kumbh The PIL said the water so released would be a “sheer waste, given the drought situation in the state and the grave danger it posed to human survival”. The scarcity of water was leading farmers to suicide and hence the water release from dams is violative of the State and National Water Policy which gives preference for water usage firstly for drinking needs, secondly for agriculture needs and thirdly for commercial needs. Religious purpose is not mentioned in the list and ought to come after the first three were fulfilled.  In one more case, hearing a farmer’s  petition demanding court to order the release of water from the Ujani dam for irrigation Mumbai High Court suggested Govt. to recycle sewage water for irrigation to fight drought The ideas of treated sewage water for irrigation and non-irrigation purposes and rain water harvesting for drinking purposes are sustainable alternatives to combat drought in long term and must be pursued and realised to convert them in reality by both govt. and public. Meanwhile the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation hydraulic department has created series short films to spread water conservation message in Mumbai urging citizens to conserve water. This comes as the monsoon has been erratic this year and has largely skipped catchment areas, which supply water to Mumbai.

Deficient monsoon affects crops in Maharashtra, water levels down in dams  Maharashtra, where 80 per cent of cultivable land is rain-fed, has been reporting more drought-affected areas than any other state for the last four years, according to state government data. As a result, the kharif production of rice, coarse cereals and pulses, which are part of food grain basket, is likely to decline this year as compared to the fourth advance estimate of kharif food grain output for 2014-15. Many dams in the state are not even filled half of their capacity as compared to 78 per cent at this time last year. The lowest water level of eight per cent has been recorded in Marathwada’s dams compared to 43 per cent last year.

One more news report says that Marathwada worst  drought hit, as monsoon stutters in half of India Across India, 17 of 36 meteorological subdivisions have reported deficient rainfall, meaning 50% less than normal, but there is no region as badly affected as Marathwada. This analysis has no mention of westward diversion of water happening from Krishna Bhima basin by Tata and Koyna dams, and only a passing mention of sugarcane, so misses many elephants in the room.

Also read how deficit rains fill the life of farmers with uncertainty India has suffered weather-related turbulence for years, but now the impact of such events is getting amplified. Pune-based water researcher Parineeta Dandekar says chronic water shortage in drought-prone areas like Marathwada has deepened due to single cash cropping (entire villages of water-guzzling sugarcane or rain-fed cotton), and the reluctance to attempt water-conserving techniques like drip irrigation for vegetables or System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for paddy. Farmers are adopting these now but as the water table drops drastically, we can’t wait for these ideas to spread organically,” says Dandekar. 

Finally Maharashtra gets monsoon showers now  This shall bring only temporary relief from looming drought effects. Again the rainfall pattern is surprising, sudden downpour and then unpredictable long breaks as happened in mid June and July 2015. But this time the break can last till next year since monsoon withdrawal is at its final stage.

MAHARASHTRA: IRRIGATION SCAM Cooperative bank case: Former Maharahstra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar chargesheeted A quasi-judicial inquiry finds him and 76 others responsible for alleged financial loss of over Rs 1,000 cr. This involves corruption, Ajit Pawar & other NCP people, loans to Sugar mills and losses of over Rs 1596 crores. Also see NCP illegally diverted irrigation water form Khadakwasla dam water to Nanded real estate project RTI Activist Pune-based RTI activist Ravi Barhate revealed that Nanded City has been provided uninterrupted drinking water from Khadakwasla dam. According to the approval letter of the chief engineer, dated April 19, 2008, Nanded City was given water that was meant for agricultural purposes.

KARNATAKA: Yettinahole continues to face opposition Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai claimed that only 13.92 hectares of forest land in Sakleshpur taluk will be lost to the project. While this claim about forest land is questionable, this is admission of the illegality of the ongoing work since there is no application of forest land clearance.

Amid growing protests the minister is reported to be tight-lipped over Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bengaluru study on environmental flow assessment in Yettinahole. The study concludes that Yettinahole catchment as a whole has a pristine ecosystem with rich biodiversity. Implementation of the Yettinahole project would affect the livelihood of dependent population and would not benefit the likely beneficiaries in arid regions of Karnataka.

Also see Braving rains, thousands raise voice against Yettinahole project, court arrest The on-going protest against Yettinahole Diversion Project is Phenomenal! More than 5000 people, soaking in the rain blocking the Bangalore-Mangalore Highway in protest! The relentless pubic opposition can’t be contained by the government! 

In the latest development  Experts tear into Yettinhole DPR terming the project unfeasible During a public meeting held by the district administration and the state government on the controversial Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project witnessed heated discussions and arguments, during which experts on hydrology tore into the detailed project report prepared by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited and asserted that the project was not feasible.”

MONSOON

Cumulative Rainfall Map 20 Sep. 2015

Cumulative Rainfall Map 20 Sep. 2015

Cumulative Rainfall Map from 01 June to 20 Sep 2015 (Source IMD) With the rainfall in South and Central India last week, the all India weighted rainfall (MM) increased from 673.5 to 718.1 against normal rainfall of 839 mm during corresponding time period, thus improving the rainfall deficiency by 2 % over a week from -16% on 14 Sep 2015 to -14% on 20 Sep 2015. Similarly, out of 36 monitored regions, the number of normal rainfall region has gone up to 19 from 17 and the number of deficient regions has fallen to 16 from 18. Only one region is in excess rainfall category. 

With 14% rain deficit, this monsoon may end up among worst 3 in 30 years which will make 2015 driest monsoon seasons in several years, barring the drought years of 2002 and 2009. So far around 44 per cent of the country has received deficient rainfall, while 50 per cent had normal rain and only 6 per cent of the area saw excessive rainfall. Rainfall deficit in northern states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana has been around 40 per cent this season so far.

Also see Failed Monsoon and defunct irrigation system fuelling mass migration in Odisha With the fear of inability to repay the private money lenders after deficit rainfall and defunct irrigation system haunting them, thousands of the farmers of rain fed areas of Nuapada, Balangir, Kalahandi districts and drought-prone areas of Padampur sub-division in Bargarh district in Odisha finds migration as the only option left to survive.

Also see Why more dry spells seem inevitable Climatologists and meteorologists agree that a warmer earth will have more extreme events. This means that rains will come in short intense spells punctuated by long periods of dry spells. There are many uncertainties in all these models, but some disturbing trends are clearly visible. There is a tipping point at which the monsoon winds could even stop blowing. No one knows when we will reach this point.

DROUGHT

Approval to additional employment of 50 days in addition to 100 days per household under MGNREGA in drought hit areas The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders, in such rural areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified. This will enable States to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor in drought affected areas.  Also see Steps Taken by The Central Government for Relief to Farmers in view of Deficit Monsoon

DAMS 

Bharat Dogra’s article titled The misery that dams can cause Quoting recent Bengal flood and ongoing Maharashtra drought, he re-examine the role, purpose, social and environmental impact of big dams in India.  Great to see this report quoting SANDRP magazine “Dams, Rivers & People” and SANDRP coordinator.

Govt to restructure CWC and CGWB The Centre has constituted a seven-member committee to restructure the central water commission and the central ground water board – the two key central bodies that manage water resources in India. The committee, headed by ex-planning commission member Mihir Shah, has been asked to submit its report in three months so that government can make a policy framework to utilize available water resources in the country in a better way.

MANIPUR Affected villagers have banned Mapithel Dam related works because even after a month since the CM assured the villagers of fulfilling their demands, locals find no sign of transforming the same assurances into action.  Notably quarrying of sand and stone was the main occupation of the people living in the downstream of the dam. However, since the dam blocked the river current, many people have been left without any employment or source of income. As the water diverted from the dam is still stinky, local villagers have been fetching water from gorges of Thang-jingpokpi hill every day.

Storage Status of 91 Major Reservoirs of the Country as on September 17, 2015 The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country as on September 17, 2015 was 92.631 BCM which is 59% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 74% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 77% of storage of average of last ten years.

On the other hand Robotised photo survey of damaged Hirakud dam in Odisha will start in December to check the health of the dam walls and ever-receding storage capacity as cracks and small holes were identified at the spillways during an underwater survey in 2002-03. A whopping 212 pressure release holes at the 497th feet of the foundation gallery were also discovered. While some of holes were repaired at that time, many of them remain and it is feared that these holes might lead to larger cracks.

Polavaram evacuees confront leaders Very good to see that Polavaram affected are confronting the BJP leaders: “What is the meaning in conducting meetings by your (BJP) party on Polavaram? You have visited this place several times and nothing has been done for us as part of relief and rehabilitation. Officials are forcing us to vacate our houses overnight without completing the new houses at another place,” the Polavaram complained to the BJP MP, Ministers, MLAs and MLCs.

Meanwhile Polavaram canal a threat for heritage; Archaelogical department clueless Conservationists fear Polavarm canal works will ruin Buddhist pottery dating back to Satavahana period at the site. Heritage lovers say that the officials have chosen the rural route probably to reduce expenditure under the relief and rehabilitation package. Interestingly, the department of Archaeology has no clues about the left canal works, as it has not received any official communication from the departments concerned.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa link to be model of river interlinking project: Centre If Ken Betwa link is the model of ILR than ILR has no future considering the number of violations, severity of impacts, flawed impact assessment, public hearing protests curbed, manipulated water balanced, neglect of upstream, destruction of Tiger Reserve and now flawed appraisal.

DNA Op-Ed Krishana-Godavari linking Most of this edit is ill informed and misleading, but these last lines are notable. “Governments tend to prefer costly engineering solutions perhaps because of its potential to generate employment and benefit the industry, over localised, safer, cheaper and non-disruptive methods that can also help conserve rain and groundwater. Pattiseema was a relatively minor project, involving the use of existing irrigation canals with few of the complexities that usually underline river-interlinking. It would be inappropriate to consider its completion as a template for large river-interlinking projects.”

URBAN WATER: DELHI             

To promote recycling of treated sewage water DJB constructs treatment plant at Okhla In order to encourage the use of treated effluent for non-potable purposes, the Delhi Jal Board has constructed a Tertiary Treatment Plant of 10 million litres per day capacity at Okhla. The plant has been commissioned recently and is producing water of high quality from sewage which can be used for non-potable purposes. The The DJB has started supplying recycled water from the plant to the DTC Depot at Sukhdev Vihar for washing of buses. Earlier, ground water was being used for washing of buses which has now been stopped. Using recycled water for washing buses will enable a saving of 50,000 litres of ground water every day.

Rains fail to recharge groundwater levels in Delhi Groundwater levels have only marginally improved this year after the rains. In certain areas, levels have even dropped as compared to their status before the monsoon. Data monitored by Central Ground Water Authority(CGWA) for May (pre-monsoon) and August (post-monsoon) shows that the rains failed to stop the decline in the water table in areas like Hauz Khas, Satbari, Ojwah, Sultanpur among others. While scientists hope that the decline stops by the time CGWA monitors the wells again in November, it seems unlikely due to the poor monsoon this time.

RIVERS

REMEMBERING IYERSAAB: Dipak Gyawali in SEMINAR (Oct 2015): Ramaswamy ji’s gem was: ‘There are no such things as stakeholders – there are only stake winners and stake losers and which side you are on.’…  For both his rectitude and intellectual integrity, he will long remain a role model for many South Asian water scholars, professionals and activists.

Arun Tiwari: “गत् वर्ष इन्ही दिनों नई दिल्ली के डब्लयू डब्ल्यू एफ इंडिया में आयोजित प्रथम ’इंडिया रिवर वीक’ में उनसे मिलना हुआ था। श्री अय्यर की प्र्रेरणा से ही डब्लयू डब्ल्यू एफ इंडिया, इनटेक, सैंड्रप, टाॅक्सिक लिंक और पीसी इंस्टीट्युट चैरिटेबल ट्रस्ट ने प्रथम ’भारत नदी सप्ताह’ का आयोजन किया था। इंटरनेशनल रिवर्स, लोक विज्ञान केन्द्र के अलावा हिंदी वाटर पोर्टल की मातृसंस्था अग्र्घ्यम ने भी इसमें सहयोग की भूमिका निभाई थी। मुझे याद है कि नदी सप्ताह आयोजन के मूल सिद्धांत को सामने रखते हुए श्री रामास्वामी आर. अय्यर ने कहा था -’’नदियां, पानी से अधिक कुछ हैं। नदियां हमारे सामाजिक, ऐतिहासिक और सांस्कृतिक ताने-बाने का ऐसा हिस्सा हैं, जिन्हे इस ताने-बाने से अलग नहीं किया जा सकता।’’ वह नदियों के प्रवाह को बाधित करने, बाढ़ क्षेत्र पर अनधिकृत निर्माण, सतत् प्रदूषण तथा नदी की आर्थिक घुङसवारी करने के आधुनिक रवैये से दुखी थे।”

GANGA   Centre’s gives In-Principle nod to quarrying in Ganga As per Dinesh Agarwal, Forest Minister Uttarakhand Centre has in principle given approval for quarrying in the Ganga river and eight of its tributaries in the state bringing about 1,380 hectares under its ambit.

YAMUNA  DDA, UP irrigation department allotted land on Yamuna’s floodplain to private parties In a latest development, which has disquieted environmentalists, the DDA and the UP Irrigation Department have allotted land in the active floodplain of the Yamuna, opposite the Sarai Kale Khan in west bank and opposite the Mayur Vihar Phase-I in east bank respectively to private parties to set up batching/concrete plants for the upcoming Barapullah Elevated road cum bridge over river Yamuna. Mean Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan’s latest letter discloses that DDA illegally allotted Yamuna floodplain land belonging to UP irrigation department land without seeking permission. The UP irrigation department is learnt even to have filed an FIR against DDA regarding the matter. The letter also mentions modification of natural floodplain form levelling of the land with soil for the alignment of the proposed phase III extension of the Barapula elevated road cum bridge. 

On the other hand DJB Chairman accepts that Sabarmati Model a disaster will not replicate it for Yamuna Indeed the Sabarmati River Front Development model is an eyewash. The river is virtually dry and deadly polluted up and downstream of Ahemdabad as shown in google imagery dated 15 April 2015. It have been trained, jacketed and turned in a 10 km linear pond in Ahmedabad. Does channelization of a grand 371 km long River that reminiscence Great Mahatma Gandhi is actual revival of our rivers? Moreover all the tributaries joining the Sabarmati from westside below Ahemdabad are running dry. Nothing is being done to revive them.

Delhi may hold back its plan but the neighbouring Noida is going ahead with Yamuna riverfront plan as a result 317 farmhouses are facing demolition threats Noida authority is learnt to have appointed a consultant to form a river-front development policy. In 2013, environmentalist Akash Vashistha filed a petition in the green court, seeking protection of flood plains. Following this, Uttar Pradesh agencies directed local officials to clear illegal structures. Noida authority also issued notice to nearly 317 farmhouse owners to either vacate or face demolition. However, many developers continue selling plots on the floodplains. Meanwhile, farmhouse owners claim their structures are legit because they were built before the authority defined the floodplains as a ‘no construction’ zone.

20150920_140216

River Yamuna at Okhala Barrage (18 Sep 2015), Despite NGT Ordering Ban & Imposing Fine; Idol Immersion & Religious Leftovers Being Dumped in it Non-Stop

Meanwhile NGT bans immersion of plastic, POP idols in Yamuna in Delhi The court directed the irrigation department of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to hold a meeting with the vice chairman of the DDA to immediately identify the immersion sites. Every year thousands of idols are immersed on ghats of Yamuna in Delhi and adjoining states like Uttar Pradesh on festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja. More cities seem to take such initiative as one more similar news report discloses that Civic body in Agra to prevent idol immersion in Yamuna A delegation of River Connect campaign, dedicated to Yamuna conservation, met the district magistrate demanding for alternative immersion arrangements and a ban on PoP idols. The Allahabad high court had in 2013 banned idol immersion in Yamuna and had asked Uttar Pradesh government to make for alternative arrangements. The court had also directed the state pollution control board to identify spots to develop artificial ponds for immersion of both Ganesh and Durga idols. One similar news report says that Rs 5,000 will be fined on those throwing waste, puja offerings in Yamuna. The decision was among slew of directions passed by NGT in January to revive the river Yamuna. Meanwhile a pictorial report from Okhala Barrage Delhi shows that idols immersion and religious leftovers continue to pollute River Yamuna in defiance of NGT’s directions since concerned agencies grossly fail in implementation. There was a discussion on this issue on NDTV India on Sept 18, 2015.

FLOODS

Extent of Damage from flood 2015 as on 17 Sep. 2015 (cumulative figures) The data updated upto 17 Sep, 2015 shows no change from the information updated on 13 Sep. 2015.  (Source: National Disaster Management India.)

 

Population

Affected

Human

lives lost

Districts

affected

Villages

affected

Live- stock

lost

Cropped area

affected

No. of houses

damaged

Estimated

damage

17 900 125 907 57 2 211 60 241 1000 562.88

(in ha)

794 557

(fully &partially)

132 019.88

(Rs. In lakh)

ओडिशा ने खातीगुड़ा डैम से अचानक छोड़ा पानी, बस्तर के हजारों लोग बाढ़ में फंसे पिछलेतीन दिनों से हो रही मूसलाधार बारिश ने बस्तर की बड़ी आबादी के सामने बाढ़ का संकट खड़ा कर दिया है। ओडिशा के नवरंगपुर में बने खातीगुड़ा डैम के चार फाटक को अचानक खोल दिए गए। इससे बस्तर के बेलगांव और जगदलपुर ब्लॉक के भेजरीपदर में एक हजार से अधिक लोग बाढ़ में घिर गए हैं।  बाढ़ के पानी में लगभग 1 हजार हेक्टेयर में लगी फसल डूब गई। फाटक खोलने के जानकारी न ताे जिला प्रशासन को दी गई और न ही कोई अलर्ट जारी किया गया। इस लापरवाही से दो हजार हेक्टेयर से अधिक की फसल तबाह हो गई। एक दर्जन से ज्यादा गांव भी शहर से कट गए। इंद्रावती  मारकंडी नदी भी खतरे के निशान से पौने दो मीटर ऊपर बह रही है।

POWER OPTIONS

On the other hand Solar power tariffs in India are set to hit a new low with the tender for 500 MW of capacity offered under the national solar mission in Andhra Pradesh receiving huge investor interest last week. In response to tenders for setting up 10 projects of 50 MW each, bids totalling around 5,500 MW were received. Analysts believe that the solar power tariffs have come down due to the decline in the cost of capital and equipment. Also see Sales of renewable energy certificates up; supply tops demand The average monthly renewable energy certificates sales on energy exchanges increased from 4,789 units in the first eight months of the previous year to 40,153 units this year. A reduction in floor price and a recent Supreme Court order upholding renewable purchase obligation norms have helped improve sales of solar renewable energy certificates.

SOUTH ASIA

Chitral pioneers community hydropower schemes This is a bit old but interesting report: “In a remarkable story of people participation and involvement, electricity from small hydropower plants is not only supplied to households, but also to educational institutions, commercial areas – and in some areas to government offices, including police stations and cantonments of the paramilitary Chitral force. Over the years, small local community organisations helped build excellent social infrastructure for the smooth implementation of development projects – the reason why the provincial government, led by former cricketer Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf ), last year entrusted 55 MHPs in the district to AKRSP to build and run them through the local community. The success of the Chitral model has seen the government do the same in 11 other districts of Khyber Pakhthunkhwa.”

Meanwhile in Bhutan, the movement to save one of the rivers from hydropower proejcts has faced a setback as the Prime Minister said that the Chamkharchu project debate come almost a decade too late and that the economic opportunities and benefits outweigh the environmental impacts of the project. An online petition to have at least one of Bhutan’s major river systems, the Chamkharchu, without a dam has sparked a public debate on the economic impact of dams. The dam in question is to be located in upper Kheng in Zhemgang. The dam work has not yet started and the Prime Minister could have easily asked for an independent assessment in this regard rather than taking such a premeditated decision. As far as the MOU with India is concerned, even Indian Government could be persuaded to review it.

Blues Beyond Mountain: Transboundary Water Commons India Report: Review  Painstakingly conducted over a period of two years, the extensive surveys offer testimonies by river-dependent communities on the crises of both quantity and quality of flows in the rivers on account of various interventions and infringements, affecting local life and livelihoods. Part of simultaneous studies taken across shared river basins in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, Blues Beyond Boundaries: Transboundary Water Commons India report captures the collective but divergent concerns of as many as 2,000 households across 80 villages in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar on the Indian side of the shared basins of the Sharda, Gandak, Kosi, Chenab, Kishan Ganga, Ganga and Teesta rivers. Similar studies on shared river basins from other countries are reportedly progressing and will be published soon.

CHINA

China’s Communist-Capitalist Ecological Apocalypse This article seeks to explain why China’s environmental crisis is so horrific, so much worse than “normal” capitalism most everywhere else, and why the government is incapable of suppressing pollution even from its own industries. On the contrary in its effort to clean up polluted urban rivers now China involves citizens in making its rivers clean by 2030. The country will give more weight to public opinion in determining which rivers are given a clean bill of health and removed from a listing of polluted waters. At least 60 percent of respondents to a government survey must conclude that a river or pond is polluted to have it included in the list of rivers that are polluted and to be remedied. Additionally, the government will establish a monitoring platform to release updated information to the public in a timely manner on its pollution control efforts.

REST OF ASIA

Flooding From Dam Washes Out Homes, Rice Fields in Southern Cambodia Chinese-backed hydropower projects constructed in Cambodia’s Mekong River region, including dams in the southwestern provinces of Koh Kong and Pursat provinces, have all raised concerns among locals and rights groups about their social and environmental impacts.

Meanwhile Local people in Myanmar demand stoppage of work on Mong Ton Dam on Salween River Mong Ton dam also known as Tasang Dam is the biggest of the five proposed for the Salween River in Burma. If built it will be the highest dam in Southeast Asia, taller than China’s massive Three Gorges Dam. The letter states that if the Mong Ton Dam is built, it would have huge negative impacts on society and environment which local people have been relying on for generations, including sacred historic sites which would be devastated by the project. In addition, the project would force tens of thousands of local people to relocate, and no responsibility will be taken by any groups, including the government.

Also see, Singapore emerges as global icon for water management and conservation Listed among 20 smallest countries in the world Singapore is also a densely populated country, but has successfully met a challenge to cater drinking and industrial need of water despite all odds Among the many measures undertaken is rainwater collection through a wide network of drains, canals, rivers, storm-water collection ponds and reservoirs. It does import water from Johor in Malaysia to meets its needs, but is striving to become ‘independent’. Singapore’s per capita domestic water consumption has been brought down from 165 litres per day in 2003 to the current 151 litres. The target is to lower it to 147 litres by 2020 and 140 litres by 2030.

REST OF THE WORLD

From Oregon to Johannesburg, micro-hydro offers solution to drought hit cities Cities worldwide are harnessing the power of gravity to generate electricity from public drinking water pipes. New micro-hydropower technology that allows cities to generate electricity from the water running through their pipes is gaining worldwide attention. In January, Portland, Oregon became the first city to harness electricity from its water pipes and sell it to the electricity grid. The big challenge for uptake of in-pipe hydropower is cost as it involves a big upfront capital investment. While the capital cost is similar to solar and wind per installed kilowatt, turbines produce electricity three to four times more cheaply because water flows around the clock and at a constant rate.

This report reveals how Saudi Arabia squandered its groundwater that led to agriculture collapsed Interesting piece of information revealing the rise and fall for Saudi Arabia’s agricultural production as the country mined it ground water carelessly. Post 1970s, Saudi Arabia dangerously exploited it ground water reservoirs and went on to became the world’s sixth-largest exporter of wheat, now the same Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to conserve whatever of groundwater remains, announced 2016 to be the last year for wheat harvest. This is an eye opener for all other countries especially those with over-stressed aquifers and that includes Indus Basin in India and Pakistan and the Murzuq-Djado Basin in Africa.

Meanwhile in a informative piece of news titled From River to Tap: What are the pollutants of the future? the author reveals six of  “EXOTIC POLLUTANTS” that are increasingly showing up in municipal waste water and stormwater ultimately reaching into the North Saskatchewan River which potable water source of Edmonton city the capital of Canada’s western Alberta province.

Also see Most Polluted River in Israel and West Bank to Stay Filthy as untreated sewage from both Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and nearby Palestinian villages has flowed into the Kidron River for years and agencies responsible for cleaning it up can’t decide what to do.

CLIMATE CHANGE

PM impresses climate change negotiators from 12 ‘Like Minded Developing Countries’ cementing relations within the group and placing India as a key member of the block, ahead of the final round of negotiations for the Paris agreement.

Meanwhile Timothy Snyder in his new book “Black Earth” says that Climate change could cause second Holocaust The Yale historian draws parallels between the World War II and more-contemporary battles for resources.  Also see, Britain’s top climate and weather body  predicted 2014, 2015 and 2016 to be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK in its latest report says that man-made global warming is set to produce exceptionally high average temperatures this year and next, boosted by natural weather phenomena such as El Nino.

ENVIRONMENT

Government hires top firms to implement TSR Subramanian report on environmental laws So it seems MoEF and CC is barging ahead with TSR Subramanian Committee Report which was strongly rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. While this is bad enough, what is more shocking is that they have hired Ernst and Young for working on an implementation framework. Now Ernst and Young have an extremely dubious history in Environmental Governance! Also read, India’s aggressive green court takes lead role in high-stakes battles A bit superficial report quoting wrong kind of lawyers, likely to create more anti NGT Rxn rather than appreciating their role.

India registers second highest premature deaths caused by outdoor air pollution; say a study published on September 17 in the journal Nature which has for the first time taken into account the data from highly polluted regions like Asia for estimating the global mortality caused by air pollution. Of the 3.3 million premature deaths worldwide in 2010 caused by outdoor air pollution, about 0.65 million deaths took place in India. These deaths were in adults older than 30 years and children younger than five years. One more news report explains the significance urban green spaces and looming threats Green spaces play a multitude of roles; as ways to regulate the climate, to trap pollutants, as noise breaks, as refuges for wildlife and plants, including endangered species and for educational or recreational purposes. Biodiversity concerns are increasingly being integrated into urban planning. In several Indian cities, wildlife survives amidst skyscrapers and burgeoning human populations. Delhi city and the surrounding areas habitat more than 400 bird species and the forests in and around Delhi support significant wildlife.

PGCIL, NHPC to spend Rs. 5500 crore to boost grid connectivity and generate more electricity from river water within the next two years as the govt. is aiming to ensure that electricity reaches every household by 2019, for which it has become imperative to ensure proper grid connectivity and resort to increased power generation from water.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: