Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin Oct 12, 2015

Arunachal:-  Siang People’s Forum writes to MoEF to not allow mega dam on Siang River, State Govt. supports the cause

Assam:- Locals, CM show stiff resistance to Lower Subansiri power project

Himachal:-Jispa Dam project faces opposition

Uttarakhand:- From 60 to 7000 patients in 3 years, Uttarakhand floods play havoc with mental health

Maharashtra:- Drought-Hit Maharashtra to generate 400 mw hydropower

Himalaya:- Dams, Hydro projects & other development works may wipe out many unknown species being discovered in Eastern Himalaya

Climate Change :- The Hydropower Methane Bomb No One Wants to Talk About

HYDROPOWER

ARUNACHAL PRADESH Siang People’s Forum writes to MoEF to not allow mega dam on Siang River, State Govt. supports the cause  Siang People’s Forum in a memorandum to Union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar made it clear the people of the four districts (Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang and West Siang) would not compromise on its demand of scrapping all mega dams over the Siang river. The Forum is backed up by the State government as the construction of this mega dam might lead to consequences which will harm the indigenous people. The State goverment declared that it will always aim for the betterment of the people of the region as it is the priority. Endorsement of projects which will not benefit the local people is not acceptable by the state government. The Brahmaputra river is locally known as Siang in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

ASSAM Locals, CM show stiff resistance to Lower Subansiri power project A seven-day blockade began at Gogamukh in Assam’s Lakhimpur district to protest against ferrying of construction materials by NHPC to its Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project at Gerukamukh. Protesters blocked the construction material-laden trucks carrying mixer machine and other equipment to the NHPC site along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. Construction work on the 2,000MW project at Gerukamukh has been stalled since December 2011 because of protests by various organisations claiming that the dam would be a potential threat to the people living downstream from the dam site. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also said that the state government would not give its consent for any hydro-electric power projects which potentially threat the ecological balance. Reacting to reports of constructing several hydro-electric projects along the Lower Subansiri Sub-basin, Gogoi said that the Centre has not consulted with the state on the issue. He said without environmental impact assessment, Assam government will not endorse any power projects. Moreover, it has not been taken into confidence regarding this development.

Dams, Hydro projects & other development works may wipe out many unknown species being discovered in Eastern Himalaya A recent WWF report mention discovery of 211 new species in Eastern Himalayas in last six years. Between 1998 and 2008, at least 354 new species described as new to science were found in the same region. The report, however, cited factors like climate change, mining, oil and gas projects, construction of roads and new dams, wildlife trade and pollution as threats to the fragile ecosystems in the region and suggested a series of measures like restoring damaged ecosystems, sustainable hydropower development, species conservation, climate change adaptation and regional collaboration to tackle the threat.

HIMACHAL PRADESH Jispa Dam project faces opposition A faction of tribals under the banner of the Jispa Bandh Jan Sangharsh Samiti (JBJSS), which is spearheading the protest, disallowed the team to work at the project site last month. The JBJSS faction led by Ringzin Hayarpa protested at the dam site. They have also sent a memorandum to the PM, CM & NGT. The protesters fear that the dam will oust 74 families of Darcha, Dangma, Sumoh, Lingchum, Schchling, Thangka, Rangyo-Baryo villages. They are also concerned that the tunnel would dry the natural water springs that irrigate cash crops of peas and potatoes and provided drinking water to Gemur, Sarangvar, Khangsar, Kalath, Rangrik, Kolang and Kwuaring villages in Jispa valley.”

Debt-laden Jaypee Group has a default rating on more than 75% of its total outstanding debt with most of the downgrades coming in the last four months. This includes Jaiprakash Power Ventures’ consolidated debt of Rs.32,065.15 crore. Rating agency CARE Ratings revised its rating on Rs.11,885 crore worth of long-term bank facilities of Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd to “D”, or a default rating. Default rating, according to CARE, implies that instruments with this rating are in default or are expected to be in default soon. As of March 2015, Jaypee Group had a total debt of Rs.63,999.15 crore. For the June quarter, the three listed companies Jaypee Infratech Ltd, Jaiprakash Power Ventures and Jaiprakash Associates Ltd had a combined interest cost of Rs.1,850 crore.

UTTARAKHAND From 60 to 7000 patients in 3 years, Uttarakhand floods play havoc with mental health The number of patients with ‘severe mental disorders’ has multiplied an astounding 100 times in the last three years in Uttarakhand — from 60 in 2012 to almost 7,000 today as per data compiled by the state health department. A large part of the quantum jump, say worried health officials, can be attributed to the devastating floods of 2013 that killed thousands and displaced lakhs, with innumerable families still waiting for their missing kin to come back. Many are yet to get over the trauma, said doctors. What is compounding the problem is that the state doesn’t have any public rehabilitation centre for patients suffering from mental illnesses.

MAHARASHTRA Drought Hit Maharashtra to generate 400 mw hydropower Interestingly India recently in its Climate agenda proposes decline in hydro power generation. This is happening amid incidences of  extreme and unprecedented climate change induced wheather events vigrously and in increase numbers are unfolding globally rendering the hydro sector highly unreliable. Maharashtra is reportedly going for these projects assuming that hydro is green and clean source of energy which infact have turned out as plain myths.

DAMS 

Project-hit protest rise in Sardar Sarovar dam height as led by NBA leader Medha Patkar affected people from Barwani and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh gathered at the office of Narmada Valley Development Authority in Indore to protest against rise in water level in the dam without completing rehabilitation process. Protestors alleged around 245 villages of Madhya Pradesh spread across 214 km will get submerged in backwaters following the rise in water level affecting scores of families.

TN alleges Kerala disrupting Periyar Baby dam strengthening work While on inspection, PWD officials from Tamil Nadu complained to the five-member sub-committee, constituted by the Supreme Court-appointed High Power Supervisory Panel for Periyar Dam that Kerala forest officials disrupted often transportation of construction materials to strengthen the baby dam. Responding to the charges Kerala said that checking and getting permission from higher officials were routine affairs and there was delay in getting permission from higher officials last time. The sub-committee inspected the main dam and the baby dam and advised Kerala not to disrupt maintenance and strengthening works carried out by TN officials and to act as per the SC guidelines.

TN has no exclusive right over Mullaperiyar dam area: Kerala The controversy over the Mullaperiyar dam seems to thicken each passing day with the State of Kerala now denying in the Supreme Court that the Lease Agreement of 1886 creates any interest in the lands in favour of Tamil Nadu. Responding to Tamil Nadu’s objections about its alleged proposal for a “mega car parking space” and other super structures in the dam area, Kerala denied that the “Agreement of 1886 creates an interest in the lands and the Plaintiff State of Tamil Nadu is entitled to enjoy property to the exclusion of the lessee, ie, Defendant State (Kerala). It is also denied that the State of Tamil Nadu is in possession of the land, much less exclusive possession”.

TN pitches for neutral central force to guard Mullaperiyar dam The Tamil Nadu government pitched strongly before the Supreme Court to order deployment of a “neutral central force” to guard the Mullaperiyar dam, accusing the Kerala police of being a “silent spectator” to entry of unauthorised persons to the dam site. Tamil Nadu pooh-poohed Kerala’s version in the apex court expressing doubts about an Intelligence Bureau report placed on record by the former, claiming that the dam was a terror target. It said the deployment of a central force like the CISF/CRPF was “absolutely essential” to protect the dam considering the threat perceptions.

The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country as on October 08, 2015 was 94.63 BCM, which is 60% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 78% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 77% of storage of average of last ten years. The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country.

IRRIGATION

Government approves World Bank Assisted “Neeranchal” project It was approved in a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The proposed project will be implemented at the national level as well as in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana. The government’s share of 50 per cent will be Rs 1071.15 crore and remaining is loan component from the World Bank. On the occasion Nitin Gadkari the Transport Minister said that “Neeranchalis aimed at achieving major objectives of the watershed component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana and for ensuring access to irrigation to every farmland (Har Khet Ko Pani) and efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop).

Nabard sanctions Rs 2,112 cr to Gujarat govt for irrigation projects  Nabard has sanctioned Rs 2,112.34 crore to the Gujarat government under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund for the ‘Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI)’ yojna. Under SAUNI yojana comprising of four link pipelines, the excess over flowing flood water of Narmada will be distributed to 115 reservoirs of eleven districts of Saurashtra through total 1,126 km long four link pipelines. Nabard has so far, sanctioned the cumulative loan assistance under the fund to the Gujarat government since inception in 1995-96 aggregates to Rs 18,851.14 crore against which an amount of Rs 12,850.94 crore has been utilised till date.

Nabarangpur rings in irrigation plan to tackle monsoon woes The infrastructure includes setting up 275 lift irrigation points, 4199 bore-wells, 11 medium irrigation projects, 640 micro irrigation projects, four mega lift irrigation points and 111 check dams in the district to achieve the target.

MAHARASHTRA Irrigation Scam None involved in irrigation scam will be spared: CM Devendra Fadnavis Asserting that no one would be spared in the irrigation scam, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis stated that the probe into the scam would lead to the arrest of the last man who had signed the files. Fadnavis also said that there was no question of any political settlement in this regard since this dispensation was not the one which would go in for any kind of settlement. Describing the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan as the biggest and most important achievement of his government in the last one year, Fadnavis said that under this campaign, which was started six months ago, the additional 24 TMC water storage capacity has been added in a decentralised manner. It would provide added irrigation capacity.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Study Ken-Betwa link carefully before granting green signal: EAC The Expert Appraisal Committee also stated that Centre Govt’s ambitious Rs 9,393 crore Ken-Betwa river interlinking project will impact “very significantly” the Panna Tiger.  The observations made by EAC could delay the project in getting the green clearances from the ministry. Consequently, the work on the project, linking Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh, might miss the December deadline. It is worth to mention that despite stiff opposition from wildlife experts on 21st September State Wildlife Board MP has cleared the proposal and forwarded it to National Wildlife Board for further approval.

MONSOON

Despite El Nino, 2016 monsoon will be normal: IMD The premier weather forecast agency claimed that the monsoon rainfall is usually normal or above normal following strong El Nino years. It also added that El Nino might remain effective in January and February 2016. But it could start weakening in March, April or May next year. Hence it is unlikely to affect the monsoon of 2016. IMD reports that at the most, El Nino might only delay the onset of the rainy season.

DROUGHT

Amid drought, economy overlooking farmers’ issues The precarious situation of millions of farmers in rural India has been pushed closer to the edge by deficient monsoons in three of the past four years that have led to the longest sequence of near-drought situations during the past century. Yet, the discourse and debate on the economy proceeds as if the agricultural sector does not exist or, if it exists, it does not matter.

Maharashtra Drought Keep Krishna basin water for drinking, farms: Experts  The water from Koyna and dams controlled by a private electricity generation company in the Krishna basin must be released for drought-affected areas in western Maharashtra and Marathwada, say water experts and activists, who argue that he subsequent power generation loss will not be significant. Himanshu Thakkar and Parineeta Dandekar of the SANDRP in a letter written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis stated that while the situation is so serious in Krishna and adjoining basins, a large amount of water from the Krishna basin is being diverted to the water surplus Konkan region which has received close o 1600 mm rainfall (by August). This westward diversion of water from the east lowing Krishna-Bhima basin ultimately takes the wa er to Arabian sea, while the Krishna basin, which should have the first right over this water, remains plunged in massive water scarcity.

Also see, ‘Sugar’ coat on Mulshi water demand for Pune The news report also incite the same letter written to CM Maharashtra by SANDRD letter and quotes SANDRP coordinators.

AGRICULTURE

Centre launches new system to assess crop yield, losses through satellite and drone-based imaging and other geospatial technology to get time and accurate data. The pilot study has been launched in rice and cotton fields of the ongoing kharif season in four districts, Kurukshetra (Haryana), Shimoga (Karnataka), Yavatmal (Maharashtra) and Seoni (Madhya Pradesh). The government also launched an Android-based app for collection of data of hailstorm with the support of ISRO to assess large-scale damage to standing crops. The facility will be used by state agriculture officials to help the Centre arrive at quick assessment of damage to crops because of hailstorm. At present, there is no comprehensive approach to collect hailstorm data.

Also see, Involve farmers in fight against climate change A regional consultation on agro forestry underscored the need for enabling policies to ensure that farmers get technology and financial incentives to integrate trees and shrubs on farmland for developing resilience to climate change.

RIVERS

Punjab, Haryana, HP vow to make rivers pollution-free In a joint meeting in Chandigarh chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to resolve the issues pertaining to pollution in river water in these states. During the meeting, it was informed that Sutlej is mainly being polluted in HP by industries in Golthai, Mehatpur and Nalagarh area. After detailed deliberations it was decided that joint sampling and monitoring on quarterly basis will be done by Punjab and HP officials near these industrial areas to effectively check the water quality in these rivers.

NGT directs MPCB to take action against Indrayani river pollution The petition, filed in January, had claimed that all the garbage is being dumped in the riverbed and the land along the riverbed, reserved for a crematorium, is being managed illegally. This has resulted in the pollution of the Indrayani river which eventually merges with the Chandrabhaga river in Padharpur. It was alleged that all regulatory norms, related to solid waste management and handling, control and prevention of air and water pollution and plastic garbage management, are being violated and residents of Alandi are facing a severe health hazard. The petitioner further pointed out that the state government has granted Rs 1.70 crore fund to AMC but the authority failed to setting up of a solid waste management plant.

In Vapi, can decades of damage be finally turned around? Rapid industrial growth brought wealth but also unchecked pollution to the town of Vapi. It impacted the local fishing communities by destroying their livelihoods. Manisha Goswami and Bharat Patel report on the decades of damage caused by the chemical industries in the area.How the industrial pollution of Vapi has destroyed the Damanganga river and livelihoods of so many people.

कलियासोत नदी के किनारे निर्माण पर लगी रोक हटी  नेशनलग्रीन ट्रिब्यूनल ने कलियासोत नदी से दो सौ मीटर के दायरे में भवन निर्माण पर लगी रोक हटा दी है। एनजीटी ने बड़ा फैसला लेकर उन सभी बिल्डर्स और डेवलपर्स को राहत दी है जिनके प्रोजेक्ट पर पिछले डेढ़ साल से रोक लगी हुई थी। एनजीटी द्वारा लगाई गई रोक के दायरे में लगभग 18 बड़े प्रोजेक्ट, 256 खसरे और करीब 350 छोटे-बड़े प्लॉट रहे थे। कलियासोत नदी के भराव को लेकर पर्यावरणविद डॉ. सुभाष सी. पांडे की याचिका पर  राज्य सरकार की ओर से बताया गया कि एनजीटी के आदेश के तहत जिला प्रशासन और नगर निगम अमले ने 18 सितंबर से मलवा हटाने की प्रक्रिया शुरू हुई थी। अब तक इन स्थानों से 70 से 80 प्रतिशत तक मिट्टी भराव और 30 से 40 प्रतिशत तक रिटेनिंग वाॅल हटाई गई है

GANGA  National Green Tribunal Uneveils Stage-Wise Plan for Ganga Rejuvenation The green panel said it intended to take the issue of rejuvenation of Ganga stage-wise to clean up the 2,500 km stretch of the river spanning several northern and eastern states. With regard to stretch from Rishikesh to Haridwar, NGT warned that it would shut down all the hotels and ashrams running without consent in the area. It also asked the state pollution control board to enhance the capacity of STP plant in Haridwar so that there is no release of effluents. It told the UP government that the tanneries in Kanpur “are seriously polluting industries. NGT also asked the authorities to set a time frame to shift them or own the responsibility.

Clean Ganga Mission: NGT summons top officers from all agencies Unhappy over the slow pace of work on the Ganga cleaning project, the NGT came down heavily on the National Mission on Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Central Pollution Control board (CPCB). The court also indicating that  it was ready to issue directions to close down the tanneries operating near the Ganga river in Kanpur, and “shift the total industrial complex” to a different location. The tribunal also summoned senior officers of the NMCG, the Ministry of Water Resources, the CPCB and the UP Pollution Control Board to appear before it on Friday to spell out a “clear stand” on the cleanup drive.

Also see, 5000 crore spent, show us one place where Ganga is clean: NGT asks Centre

Uma Bharti pitches for joint probe into illegal sand mining in Ganga in district Bijnor of UP. In a letter sent to MoEF requested Prakash Javedkar to send a joint team of her Ministry and Environment Ministry to inquire into unauthorized mining leading to change in river hydrology and resulting in soil erosion as well as impinging upon the conservation of endangered aquatic species. Earlier a delegation led by Kunwar Bharatendra Singh, Member, Lok Sabha from Bijnor called on Sushri Bharti and submitted her a detailed memorandum seeking her immediate intervention to stop unauthorized mining activities in river Ganga in Bijnor.

Army will help clean Ganga but fix sewage first: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has reiterated the government’s intention to raise new Territorial Army battalions, comprising ex-soldiers and commanded by regular army officers, specifically for cleaning up the Ganga. This is a good move. Yet, given the sheer magnitude of India’s river pollution problem, we need deeper, structural interventions and strict implementation of existing schemes. This is important because the number of polluted river stretches in India has gone up 14 times in the last 26 years. The number of polluted rivers more than doubled from 121 in 2009 to 275 at last count, says the Central Pollution Control Board.

1,263 dolphins sighted in Ganga & tributaries in UP According to the census, stretches downstream Varanasi registered 269 dolphins and the 125 km stretch upstream of Fatehpur saw 175 dolphins. Stretches of Ghaghra, Rapti, Gandhak, Chambal recorded an increase whereas Ramsar site Brijghat to Narora recorded a decrease, the census said.

Uttarakhand Human Rights Commission issued notice to chief secretary on Ganga River pollution A team of the Uttarakhand Human Rights Commission, after spending three days at Gangotri near the source of the Ganga, and witnessing rampant pollution of the river there, has issued a notice to the state chief secretary, asking him to submit a report on the steps taken to check disposal of waste by the proliferating shops, restaurants and hotels in the area. The chief secretary has been asked to reply within six weeks on what the government intends to do to check the pollution of the Ganga, which is known by the name Bhagirathi in Gangotri.

Tributary Suswa carries Doon’s waste to Ganga  Downtown Dehradun city lives between two rivers, Bindal and Rispana. The two rivers that are part and parcel of the city’s life are horribly polluted. A few people know that all the dirt and filth that gets collected in these two rivers finally goes into the Ganga. The two rivers after criss-crossing Dehradun city meet the Suswa river at Ramgarh at the Rajaji National Park. The Suswa finally merges with the Ganga. The Suswa, an important tributary of the Ganga, carries all dirt and garbage into the holy river.

Swachh Bharat falters on the banks of Ganga Worried over the tardy implementation of Prime Minister’s pet Swachh Bharat Mission in the villages along Ganga, the Centre has prodded the state governments to speed up building toilets in gram panchayats on both its banks.

Muslims in Varanasi take Ganga cleaning seriously, won’t immerse tazia in river A section of Muslim community say they will not immerse their tazia in Ganga river in the upcoming Muharram festival and will adhere to the High Court’s ban order for immersion of idols and religious items in the river. Muslims in Varanasi take Ganga cleaning seriously, won’t immerse tazia in river

YAMUNA Govt plans eco cess to revive Yamuna The cess will range between Rs 600 and Rs 100 a month – from residents, including those living in unauthorised colonies, for cleaning the river. The money will be collected by the discom and transferred to the Delhi government later. The environmental compensation fund will be used to set up new sewage treatment plants and introduce new technology to clean the Yamuna. The new charge – to be reflected in the power bills from October – is likely to double the monthly payment made by residents in jhuggi dwellers.

देश की राजधानी में ही यमुना की हत्या की कोशिश  दिल्लीसरकार जहां एक ओर यमुना का पुराने दिन लौटाने का दावा कर रही है तो दूसरी ओर उसके मातहत विभाग नदी के अस्तित्व को समाप्त करने पर तुले हुए हैं। बारापुला एलीवेटेड रोड के थर्ड फेज परियोजना का निर्माण कर रही कंपनी ने यमुना के एक वाटर चैनल (नदी की एक धारा) को ही मैटेरियल की ढुलाई के लिए पाट दिया, जिसकी वजह से नदी का स्वरूप ही बदल जाएगा।  मामले की गंभीरता को देखते हुए गैर सरकारी संस्था और यमुना के पर्यावरण से जुड़ी संस्था यमुना जीए अभियान ने इस मामले की शिकायत उपराज्यपाल नजीब जंग से की है। यमुना जीए अभियान के संयोजक मनोज मिश्रा का कहना है कि कंपनी के इस कार्य से नदी का स्वरूप बदल जाएगा।

Delhi Govt’s daily Yamuna Aarti plan raises a stink  as river activists feel nonplussed and  some even said it’s as good as praying to the Najafgarh drain as, after all, the entire 22km stretch of the river is mostly sewage and effluent. Experts suggest its better if govt. first work on ensuring fresh water flow in the river before organizing such events.  Experts also questioned as to how the aarti could ensure the river gets a flow fear post Aarti waste will pollute the river further.  About 22 drains discharge sewage into Yamuna. According to a recent report submitted by Delhi Pollution Control Committee to NGT, the capital’s 13 common effluent treatment plants are treating only 22% of industrial effluents and its treatment plants less than 60% of sewage generated.

Dire need to curb Hindon pollution: NGT   The Green Court has also sought that onus be fixed on agencies and officers who allowed the deterioration of Hindon. The Court also directed the Principal Secretary (Environment), UP, to personally visit the Hindon, particularly the sites shown in the photographs. The report mentions that there are as many as 172 industries situated in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Gautam Budh Nagar, which are disposing of their outflow into the Hindon.

DPCC sends closure notice to already shut Britannia plant while implementing the NGT’s order of not allowing industrial units to operate without an effluent treatment plant and, DPCC issued notices to 1,200 units found spewing toxic waste into the river. The agency also mistakenly issued an order of closure to an already shut Britannia Industries factory on Lawrence Road. The DPCC, meanwhile, accepted the mistake before the NGT. It is to be noted that in June this year, the NGT had asked the DPCC to shut 1,200 industrial units found spewing toxic waste into the Yamuna through rainwater drains. Only 13 of the 28 industrial clusters in Delhi have common effluent treatment plants, even as untreated chemicals put to waste the crores of rupees being spent to revive the Yamuna.

Spanish Envoy Meets Delhi Chief Minister, Discusses Yamuna Clean-Up Such meetings kees happening routinely and have done no good to the river. Ironically in a 30 minutes long meeting 3 complex and challenging issues Yamuna Cleaning, Water quality and Urban Designing were discussed. Moreover there is difference in ‘Cleaning’ and ‘Revival’ of River Yamuna. And Yamuna needs a holistic revival plan not mere symbolic and never-ending cleaning. Factually the river turns dry beyond Hathini Kund Barrage and desperately needs restoration of ecological flow for actual revival. This is the point where all riparian govts. have failed the River.

Also see, This year, Durga goes green to save Yamuna

WETLANDS

Haryana govt defines but negate Najafgarh Jheel a lake, NGT warns against brazen construction Pulling up the Haryana government after the latter claimed that the Najafgarh lake was “not a lake but a low-lying area where rainwater and overflow from the Sahibi river collected”, the bench directed officials from the Delhi government, the Haryana government and the Groundwater Authority of India to inspect the site and file a report. NGT also asked the officials if water is found in the lake during lean season it should be protected and illegal construction in its area should be stopped.  The submission was made on a petition filed by the INTACH seeking orders to preserve the lake, believed to have been one of the largest water bodies in Delhi once. INTACH has claimed that sectors 106, 107,108 of Gurgaon are being constructed in the “high flood level” area of the lake, while there is some construction going on in the Delhi side of the lake.

Notification on ESZ around Okhla sanctuary challenged As environmentalists see red over the Centre’s notification limiting the eco-sensitive zone around Okhla Bird Sanctuary, activist and birder Anand Arya challenged the August 19 notification of the Centre setting the extent of eco-sensitive zone around the sanctuary as 100 metres on all sides, except northern, and 1.27 km on the northern boundary before the NGT. His counsel Rahul Choudhary told the Bench that the notification is in violation of all legislative policies, including the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act. The notification on the sanctuary, which is one among the several ornithologically-significant sites along the 50-km stretch of the Yamuna, had rejoiced many big builders and investors, who have projects or have brought homes in the area.

Flammable foam hits the streets after Bangalore lake has so much sewage pumped into it that it creates a toxic ‘clouds’ of bubbles The foam comes from the vast and highly polluted Bellandur Lake. It is caused by ammonia, phosphate and low dissolved oxygen in the water. The white mixture has also been known to catch fire due to the grease in it. Bangalore residents have started up a Facebook page to save the lake.

SAND MINING

To reign in unsustainable sand mining NGT asks MoEF to submit monsoon schedule in MP The NGT Bench directed joint secretary, MoEF to “immediately hold a meeting with state of Madhya Pradesh and department of meteorology and place before the tribunal on the next date of hearing, the likely period of rainy season during which mining should not be permitted in every zone. Previously, NGT central zone bench in Bhopal had stayed sand mining in the state till October 31.

How India’s ‘Sand Mafia’ Pillages Land, Terrorizes People and Gets Away With It in blatant disregard of government directives and with dire consequences to the environment and the livelihoods of local residents. The exponentially growing demand enables a criminal network presided over by kingpins and corrupt officials to reap financial benefit, using poor farmers and scattered local middlemen to collect and transport illegally mined sand while employing toughs to handle unwanted intrusions with intimidation and violence.

ENERGY OPTIONS

Germany extends $2.25 billion support to India for clean energy corridor, solar projects India and Germany took a giant step towards clean energy collaboration with the creation of long-term ‘Climate and Renewable Alliance’, and Berlin extending a lump sum assistance of 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) for developing a clean energy corridor and solar projects, ahead of the Paris climate change meet in December. The announcement of German support for India’s clean energy projects was made following wide-ranging discussions between PM Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at their third Inter Governmental Consultations

SOUTH ASIA

Hydropower projects knocked out by earthquake still offline in Nepal according Post-Disaster Needs Assessment prepared by the National Planning Commission, Nepal several hydropower facilities with a combined capacity 115 MW out of the total installed capacity of 787 MW (on-grid and off-grid) were severely damaged by the killer quake, while facilities with a combined capacity of 60 MW have been partially damaged. Likewise, under-construction hydropower projects with a combined capacity of about 1,000 MW owned by independent power producers and the Nepal Electricity Authority have been partially damaged, which means the project completion deadline will be extended.

Villages in Nepal offer Pakistan lessons on coping with climate change The key message is. The normal traditional practice of rice growing requires more seeds, more water and also needs more labour. However, the SRI system requires less seed, less labour and most importantly it requires less water which has become scarce.

CHINA

How China’s Water Pollution Could Take Down All of Us One more story exposing the legacy of environmental pollution behind the quick rises of China and predicting the potential dangers before the world from the sudden fall of its economic growth. Environmental damage is now so severe in China that it not only poses a long-term burden on Chinese citizens but is also an acute political challenge to the ruling Communist Party”.  As well as dense and stifling air pollution, China’s water supply is toxic with almost 500 million people lacking access to safe drinking water. Data shows that as much as one-third of the major river basins in China and 60 percent of its underground water is polluted. It could be argued that the country’s dwindling domestic water supplies may force Chinese leaders to adopt a militaristic approach to the survival, as they attempt to expand their territory for those vital unpolluted resources elsewhere.

REST OF THE WORLD

Aging & Underfunded: America’s Dam Safety Problem, In 4 Charts A very comprehensive news report revealing much more than we know about the dam breaches and safety issues in America. There are more than 87,000 dams in America and, like most infrastructure, they go largely unnoticed — until something goes wrong. That was the case in and around South Carolina’s capital this week, when at least 20 dams collapsed during catastrophic floods. In its most recent Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state of America’s dams a “D,” in part because about 4,000 dams in the country are in need of repairs — and about half of those deficient dams could cost lives if they were to fail.

Multiple Dam Failures Aggravate Dangerous Conditions in Flood-Ravaged South Carolina After historic rainfall across South Carolina, dam breaches and failures have aggravated already dangerous flooding problems. So far eleven dams have breached or failed completely. Amid forecast of more rain, the risk for failures may continue even where water levels have already peaked in central South Carolina due to weakening of earthen dams. Officials in the hardest-hit areas have gone door-to-door, ready to evacuate those in need. Still, many residents sit in areas susceptible to additional flooding.

4 Hidden Causes of Dam Failures South Carolina is the latest place to suffer from a wave of dam catastrophes. The news report pin points 4 main factors responsible behind multiple dam failure in South Carolina, Columbia.  1. Change in Land Use (More built up area in dam catchment earlier occupied by forest which used to absorb significant amount of water while change in land use or concretization of catchment area results in more and quick rain water run-off)    2. Change in Weather pattern (Climate change is fueling highly erratic rainfall pattern, the event is also belived to be one in 1000 years.) 3. Out-dated design and 4 Lack of maintenance and funding.

Don’t Be Fooled By Hydropower Industry Talking Points For decades, environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act have leveled the playing field between all of us and powerful energy companies like Pacific Gas & Electric, Duke Energy, Exelon, and Southern Company. But now the hydropower industry is trying to create a giant loophole for dam operators, so they are not required to protect fish, wildlife, or water quality on our rivers. Now, as industry lobbyists push HR 8 to Members of Congress, they are using all kinds of misleading messages.

Hydrologists measuring dry & flooded rivers to better drought prediction Knowing just how high a river is flooding during severe storms or how empty it gets during a drought is absolutely essential for emergency managers to make informed decisions, but to get that data someone had to brave the rivers. It doesn’t even matter if a river is flooding its banks or so dry that it’s more of a river-that-was, either way U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists are going to be scrambling around measuring how much water (or lack thereof) is flowing how fast.

Explosion at Washington State Dam Injures Six Employees Six employees were injured in an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam along the Columbia River in central Washington state. According officials the explosion was attributed to electric equipment. The Priest Rapids Dam was built in the 1950s. It has 10 turbines and 10 generators to produce electricity.

As drought-desperate California sinks, the risk of flood is rising California is sinking, and sinking fast. As desperate farmers have turned to drilling to keep their crops green, the removal of groundwater is making the land settle inches lower at a sharp pace. In the Central Valley, that geological drop is actually increasing the flood risk.

El Quimbo Dam Colombia proving a bane for local people Being constructed on Magdalena river since 2011. Construction company Emgesa has started filling the reservoirs. Recently multiple leaks were discovered in the dam. However Emgesa the construction company officials’ claim that these fissures are not a serious problem, yet others claim they pose a serious risk, especially considering the dam’s highly seismic location. The reservoir spans approximately 20,000 acres, an area that used to be fertile farmland populated by many small farmers. A 200-year-old chapel, San José de Belén, was recently demolished in order to prepare for the reservoir. Nearly 450 families were evicted from their lands and resettled on less fertile plots of land to allow the filling of the dam’s reservoir.

All hydropower plants in Tanzania are being switched off because a lack of rain has led to low water levels in the country’s dams. It is the first time the East African nation has closed all hydro plants, which generate 35% of its electricity. Hydro-electricity generation has fallen to 20% of capacity, making it difficult for the dams to operate. An official reported that the closing of the hydropower dams was beyond the government’s control. According to Tanzania’s private Citizen paper, the state-owned power company, Tanesco, has already shut down its major Mtera hydropower plant, which can generate 80 MW. The country consumes 870 MW but it only currently generates 105 MW, the paper says.

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Hydropower Methane Bomb No One Wants to Talk About Gary Wockner, PhD, an international environmental writer and activist based in Colorado reveal most startling and rarely known facts on hydropower and dams seen as green source of energy. He rightly says that like the tobacco industry refusing for decades to accept that its product causes cancer, the dam industry, in public statements and advertisements, flouts the science that links methane emissions to hydropower. And to make matters worse, the U.S. Department of Energy reinforces the myth of clean hydropower.  The principal environmental menace of hydroelectric dams is caused by organic material—vegetation, sediment and soil—that flows from rivers into reservoirs and decomposes, emitting methane and carbon dioxide into the water and the air throughout the generation cycle. Studies indicate that in tropical environments and high-sediment areas, where organic material is highest, dams can release more greenhouse gas than coal-fired power plants

As the globe warms, marine, land species shifting their ranges In the comprehensively composed article titled These Migrants Need Attention too, the author Nagraj Adve a member of the India Climate Justice collective presents a minute and combined impact that climate change is already having on marine and terrestrial species particularly in and around Indian sub-continent. Shifts or extensions in species’ range because of global warming are occurring with innumerable species in every region, terrain and ecosystem in India. Rising temperatures are the most obvious cause, but changing rainfall patterns is also a factor. And in some cases, a species itself may not need to move but is forced to shift because its food/prey may have. Meta-surveys of published papers covering hundreds of marine and land-based species the world over have found that, as the globe warms, three-quarters of all marine species studied have shifted their ranges poleward, as have half of all land-based species

India’s Carbon Emission Targets Difficult to Achieve as it still relies largely on polluting energy sources to grow. The report further mentions that energy and its use lie at the heart of the climate dilemma. India’s growth ambitions -provide electricity to more than 50% Indians (45% rural) who have no access, build roads, infrastructure, improve GDP -require energy-intensive processes like steel and automobile production, highway expansion and resource mining. Notably India is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China, and its green commitment is encouraging. Its promise to source 40% of its electricity from non fossil sources by 2030 includes 175 GW of renewables, the largest target in the world today.

Also read, It is getting hotter: At climate talks in Paris later this year, negotiators should ponder the damage already done

ENVIRONMENT

Govt. wants NITI Aayog to evaluate World Bank-funded projects for an independent assessment of their impact. The govt. believes this exercise will help build capacity in the new think tank and enhance its credibility besides raising its stature internationally. The finance ministry has written to the Aayog, which replaced the decades-old Planning Commission this year, to explore the possibility of evaluating programmes which are financially supported by the World Bank. Although evaluation is among the key mandates of the Aayog, it is yet to assess any programme due to the delay on part of the Prime Minister’s Office in finalising the role and structure of the institution that will evaluate government-run schemes.

The environment ministry to assess and rate NGOs  that receive grants from the ministry. After assessment on whether the money has been spent on the purpose it was mentioned for further grants will be released to them. Environment Minister Prakash Javedkar said that NGOs are a bridge between the government and the people and called for making the directory of environment NGOs more comprehensive. The directory has been compiled by the WWF India, on behalf of the environment ministry. It includes 2,300 NGOs from across India working towards environmental protection, conservation and awareness. Since assuming power in May 2014, the NDA government has had a tense relationship with NGOs. Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, an NGO, said government departments too should be assessed for performance.

Maharashtra govt orders Lavasa to return 191 acres of land to tribals Subhash Borkar, a sub-divisional officer in the state revenue department, has directed Ajit Gulabchand-led Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd’s real estate development unit Lavasa Corp. Lavasa to return the land that was notified for tribals but given to the company. The action followed a compliant by activist group National Alliance for People’s Movement. Lavasa is developing a private hill city over 23,000 acres near Pune. The first phase will cover 18,000 acres.

Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve the ocean The report is informative however it omits mentioning how dams and reservoirs are running the rivers dry before they meet the ocean thus disturbing the hydrological cycle. Moreover the earth is full of people who beleive that water flowing in rivers is waste of water and it should be conserve. The same notion is keep doing rounds in the back drop of interlinking of rivers project. When will we wake up to the greater truth that oceans, rivers and mountains are integrated and essential part of hydrological cycle. The report also does not mention much on the burgeoning amount of solid and liquid waste we relentlesly and repentlessly continue to dispose in our oceans directly or via rivers which is prime reason behind acidification of oceans.

One Comment on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin Oct 12, 2015

  1. Pingback: Dames, Rivers & People – Bulletin: Oct 12, 2015 | Knowledge in Civil Society

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