Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin Oct 26, 2015 (Saving Tigers is Saving Rivers, Story of once dry Tamirabarani River )

Tamirabarani teaches: Saving tiger is saving river  After Kalakkad-Mundanthurai was declared tiger reserve in 1992, Tamirabarani river has regained its perennial status. Though shorter than Cauvery and Vaigai, Tamirabarani has always held a special place in the state. It started turning dry for four months every year. People of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin thought their river too was going the way of other state rivers. But a move to save the tiger inadvertently became a save the-river policy. The Union ministry of environment and forests declared the Kalakkad – Mundanthurai area as a tiger reserve in 1992. In three years, there was a noticeable change. A study on water inflow into the Karayar river, a tributary, inside the reserve was taken up. Records show that from 1946 till 1990, the river received only 13,000 cubic feet of water annually. After the area was declared as a tiger reserve, the inflow increased to 23,000 cubic feet.

Significance of less understood and largely under-utilised micro- climates Micro-climates are the amazing local interplays between factors such as soil temperature, air temperature, wind directions, soil moisture and air humidity-affected by day night effects and seasonal effects. They are determined by the particular landscape, soil conditions, vegetation, land use and water retention. Strategic intervention with the micro-climate conditions can help tackle climate change at the grass root level. The dividends of a successful micro-climate management manifest themselves in the form of improved groundwater table; vegetation levels and better agricultural productivity due to secured moisture, gentler microclimates and higher soil nitrogen availability.

HYDROPOWER                                                                   

KARNATAKA Karnataka IAS officer linked to hydro power project scam Investigations have now shown that firms linked to senior Karnataka IAS officer Mohan received loans from at least one company, Dishaa Power Corporation Pvt Ltd, which was allotted contracts by state-run Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL), headed by Mohan between 2012 and 2013. Investigations through the Registrar of Companies also show the links between other firms granted projects by KREDL in recent years and companies linked to the IAS officer. This includes sister concerns of Sri Rama Doota Infra Private Limited, where Mohan’s father Naresh is a director since March 2013. Biradar Hydro Energy, Adithya Green Power, Kodekal Basaveshwara Power Generation, all firms whose director Subhash Biradar is also a director in Srimaan Greenenergy Pvt Ltd, a sister concern of Sri Rama Doota Infra, were alloted small hydro projects. Indeed, this is a MAJOR expose that could lead to exposure to corruption in so many small hydro in Karnataka.

UTTARAKHAND Stop construction of Kisau dam : Joshi Gaon Bachao Abhiyan convener Dr Anil Prakash Joshi has called for a ban on the construction of the Kisau dam along the Himachal border as, according to him, it will destroy 1,100 hectares of fertile agriculture land. Joshi stated this in an open letter written to Chief Minister Harish Rawat highlighting concerns of villagers of the state that he released at a press conference here today. The Chief Minister had a few days ago asked the Gaon Bachao Abhiyan members to give him feedback on issues which they had come across en-course of the yatra.

Cancel Environment Clearance of hydro projects on Ganga Alleging blatant violation of environmental norms, locals and activists have demanded cancellation of Environment Clearance of the 520 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad and 444 MW Vishnugad-Pipalkoti hydro electricity projects on the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers respectively. Locals have been repeatedly complaining that the companies implementing these two projects are dumping huge amount of muck and debris in the river in violation of environmental norms. Indeed, the MoEF needs to take action against these violating projects, one of them, the Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP is in fact World Bank funded.

Expert Body to File Report on Uttarakhand Hydro Projects before Supreme Court by October 31 The Centre has told the Supreme Court that an expert panel would be filing by October end a “comprehensive” environment and ecological impact report of 24 hydroelectric power projects, to be set up on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand.   The court, in its recent hearing, has also asked parties to file “objections to the report from all angles including the constitution of the expert committee as there has been a cavil from the very beginning that another expert committee could not have been constituted… the objections shall be filed by November 15. Last week, in a surprising development, Supreme Court on repeated request of Uttarakhand Govt. clarified except Ganga basin MoEF is free to clear hydro projects in the hilly state. However, the apex court by its August 13, 2013 verdict had expressed concern over the climate tragedy in Uttarakhand that year and prohibited setting up of any new hydroelectric power project in the state till further orders.  

Global warming creating thousands of dangerous glacier lakes in Himalayas, finds study There are 1,266 such Chorabari lakes in Uttarakhand’s Himalayan regions, some of which have been created fresh by the rapid retreat of glaciers due to global warming, found a study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology. Scientists engaged in the study identifiy 809 lakes as ‘ice dammed lakes’ meaning lakes surrounded by ice on all sides. 329 lakes are ‘moraine dammed lakes’, which are bordered by boulders and sediments — and more dangerous. Around 635 lakes have been found in the Alaknanda river basin glaciers alone.

June 2013 flash flood intensified migration in Uttarakhand A silent migration from rural Uttarakhand is on. The 2013 flash floods that destroyed villages, towns in the interior areas of the state have only intensified the exodus, and sociologists and activists warn of a worse time if rural infrastructure remains neglected. Experts say lack of attention to rural inhabitants’ main sources of livelihood, agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and forest produce has forced them to desert their villages for cities. Recently State Health Department have also reported 2013 disaster responsible for hundred fold increase in number of patients with ‘severe mental disorders

CHHATTISGARH CREDA to set up hydro power plant in Jashpur According the report Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency would be going for installation and commissioning of a ‘Pico Hydro Power Plant’ at Village Muttu in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh at the left flank of Sogra Nala near Mutu Village, Manora Tehsil in Jashpur district. Notably, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has set a modest power generation target of 25 MW to be achieved from Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects in Chhattisgarh by 2022. Neighbouring Madhya Pradesh had also been given the target of 25 MW to be achieved from SHP projects by 2022. Interestingly, Odisha State had not been assigned any SHP target during the period.

DAM                                                                                                                                   

Protest against release of water from Gangapur dam  The farmers from Nashik, Niphad and other adjoining talukas in the district protested against the release of 1.34 thousand million cubic feet of water from Gangapur. They also threatened of taking the issue to the high court. The farmers claimed that the lack of water will impact over 25,000 acres of grape farms that would ultimately affect more than 40,000 farmers. This will bring the credit of more than Rs 1,855 crore given by the banks in red zone. The farmers also said the water transportation could be a costlier but was a better alternative given that the water will not be lost through distribution system.

SHAHI SNAN WATER RELEASE ROW HC Bombay continue to lash out at Maharashtra govt. This time the court questioned the wisdom of water release from Gangapur dam amid severe drought situation. The criticism was also timely as recently the government has declared drought in 14,708 villages. Last week, the court had directed the Chief Secretary to examine the legalities of the decision, which went against the government’s water policy that prioritised water release for drinking and domestic use and sanitation. Earlier too, in 22 September order, the Court had cornered the State government for being insensitive to the needs of common people in the drought-affected areas and asked it to adopt “a sensitive and scientific approach to saving water” and “revisit the entire issue in the light of the fact that the water which will satisfy the basic needs of lakhs of citizens is being diverted for ‘Shahi Snan’. The holy bath at Nashik Kumbh took place on August 29 and September 13 and 18. Of the 4.5 TMC of water reserved for Nashik city during 2015-2016, 0.232 TMC was released for the event on the three days.

Storage Status of 91 Major Reservoirs of the Country as on October 21, 2015 was 91.667 BCM, which is 58% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 77% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 76% of storage of average of last ten years.

AGRICULTURE                                                                    

Pulse Farmers: Custodians of Fertility, Water and Climate-friendly Agriculture Although pulses are hardy crops and need little water, they do need water in times of stress. With farmers diverting irrigation to crops with assured returns, how will pulse production grow? Without incentives to the farmer, any growth in pulses at this time will be at the cost of the farmer, who has been subsiding urban customers enough already. Pulse farmers are providing us multiple, precious services and it is high time we value them.       

No to ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’, yes to agroecology Climate Smart Agriculture sounds like a great idea, write hundreds of civil society organisations worldwide. But in truth it’s a PR front for international agribusiness to promote corporate agriculture, pesticides and fertilisers at COP21, with a heavy dose of greenwash. Countries must resist the siren calls – and give their support to true agroecology that sustains soil, health, life and climate. Indeed, we need to be careful about these terms and at the same time not reject the concept just because agribusiness wants to co-opt such terms.

Sugar mills face cartelisation heat According the report of the primary investigation conducted by the Competition Commission of India director general’s office  has found that sugar companies held meetings, through their representative association, to decide on a common bid price for selling ethanol and the quantity to be supplied. The price agreed upon was allegedly higher than the market rate. If the accusations are proven, it could be a major setback for the sugar industry. The investigation has also found that the “parties were acting in a concerted manner by quoting identical or near-identical prices in the past tenders of 2006-07 and 2009 as well.”  The incident has also put the Ethanol Blending Programme of the Centre to cut its fuel import bill is in trouble.

Also see Skyrocketing price: Is dal the new pyaaz?

IRRIGATION                                                                            

चूहों ने बीकानेर में तोड़ी केएचएम मानइर नहर, 100 बीघा ग्वार की फसल डूबी बीतीरात केएचएम मानइर 400 फीट तक दरक गई। रात एक बजे से सोमवार दोपहर तक पानी खेतों में बहता रहा। 10 घंटे तक 90 क्यूसेक पानी बहने से 100 बीघा से अधिक खेत जलमग्न हो गए। खेतों में ग्वार की पकी फसल खड़ी है। जानकारी के मुताबिक बीती रात करीब एक बजे केएचएम नहर में चूहों से सूराखों से बनाए पानी से रिसना शुरू हुआ। कुछ ही घंटों में सूराख बड़े होते गए और 400 फीट तक नहर दरक गई। पास के बक्कू खां, हनमानप्रसाद, कृष्ण कुमार और काशीराम के चकों में पानी चला गया। सुबह पांच बजे किसानों को इसकी खबर लगी।

MAHARASHTRA IRRIGATION SCAM: NCP chief Sunil Tatkare grilled by ACB over Kondhane dam scam According to the allegations leveled against him, there was irregularities while awarding the contract of Kondhane dam to a private company and there were irregularities that resulted in massive cost escalation. In the Kondhane dam case, it is alleged that the cost escalated from Rs 56 crore to Rs 614 crore.  Mr Ajit Pawar was the chairman of the KIDC between 2001 and 2009, while Mr Tatkare was the head of the corporation between 2009 and 2014. Mr Pawar was also the water resources minister. The SIT has already registered a couple of FIRs in connection with the Balganga scam and has booked five members of Khatri family and six government servants for committing irregularities in awarding the contract which has cost over Rs 92 crore to tax payers.

Day after state NCP president, Ajit Pawar grilled by ACB Ajit Pawar is under investigation for irregularities and cost-escalation in the Kalu and Balganga projects. The cost of the Kalu project increased from Rs 382 crore to Rs 700 crore, while that of the Balganga project increased from Rs 414 crore to Rs 1,600 crore. The Balganga irrigation project was approved at meeting of the KIDC on January 28, 2009. Ajit Pawar, who was then the water resources minister and chairman of the corporation, had presided over the meeting. The ACB found that the KIDC had committed largescale irregularities for the benefit of contractors. The IPS officer said many KIDC officials admitted to the ACB that rules were changed for the benefit of contractors and a huge mobilisation advance was released in blatant violation of rules.

‘NCP Duo Got Kickback of Rs 800 cr in Irrigation Scam’ Two days after the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau questioned senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, in connection with the irrigation scam, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on Friday alleged that they had received a kickback of `800 crore in lieu of awarding the contract of an irrigation project in Konkan. The scam in the state’s irrigation sector came to light after then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan publicly admitted that the state’s irrigation capacity had increased by only 0.1 per cent a decade in spite of spending `70,000 crore. Pawar was the Water Resources Minister in this period. Tatkare, now the state NCP president, succeeded him after Pawar took charge of the Power and Energy departments in 2010.  Pawar stands accused of allowing the contractors to hike the project’s cost, bypassing the rules.

WATER                                                                                      

Water and sewerage plans worth Rs 2,786 crore in 89 AMRUT cities approved An inter-ministerial Apex Committee of AMRUT chaired by Urban Development Secretary Madhusudhan Prasad has cleared the plans worth Rs 2,786.28 cr involving 143 projects in 89 AMRUT cities in the three states. These include 47 schemes relating to ensuring water supply connections and augmenting water supply and 31 projects for expanding sewerage network services in identified cities and towns. The rest pertain to storm water drains, urban transport and green spaces and parks. Sewerage projects got a lion share of Rs 1,471.07 cr followed by Rs 1,225 cr for water supply related schemes.

GROUND WATER

Dwarka seeks water body tag for recharge sites The residents of Dwarka have taken up the cudgels to ensure that two natural groundwater recharge sites in the area get water body status in the records of Delhi government and the Delhi Development Authority. The two natural groundwater recharge sites are in sector 20 and 23, respectively. Delhi has 1,000-odd water bodies, including village ponds, marshes, lakes and step wells, according to records available with the Delhi government. Activists say about 80% of these have been gobbled up by encroachments and urbanisation.

India’s water management system plagued by British legacy India’s water management, this article rightly says is, “entirely based on the reductionist engineering paradigm looking at short-term economic benefits, and ignoring the long-term sustainability concerns. This paradigm is an integral component of the colonial legacy being introduced and formalized under colonial capitalism in South Asia leading to a ‘metabolic rift’ between human and nature.” And yet the authors seems to make a strange contention: “On the other hand, China has developed its own set of ecologically informed engineering while designing its dam on Yangtze.” So it says Chinese dams ok, Indians are not???

WATER OPTIONS                                                               

Earthen dams to help recharge parched groundwater table The forest department has started constructing large earthen dams that will help store rainwater and recharge groundwater in Gurgaon and Mewat. Such dams are being made in the Aravalli forest areas of Haryana for the first time. According to officials of the department, work has already started on two dams in the forest areas of Ferozepur Jhirka in Mewat, also known as Jhir forest. Construction will soon begin in Ghamroj village of Gurgaon too. The department aims to build at least one such dam in all seven southern Haryana districts, which are home to the Aravalli ranges. About four off the dams are expected to be ready before next monsoon. According to estimates, every dam will be able to save about 37.5 crore litres of water every year.

Water warriors – Stories on people and their relationship with water The stories in this yearbook highlight efforts by rural and urban communities across India to take back ownership of their water resources.

RIVERS                                                                                         

CPCB recent survey shows 302 polluted river stretches along 35 metros CPCB’s study reveals that 62,000 million litres per (MLD) day of sewage is generated across urban India and there are 816 STP installed so far that can treat 23,277 MLD or just 37.5% of sewage per day.  Based on its detailed assessment CPCB has served notices and has issued a host of directions to all major civic bodies and urban local bodies across the country asking them to submit time bound action plan on sewage treatment within 90 days. CPCB’s notice to the municipal bodies directs them to make sure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers or any other water body. Among the fresh directions, it has directed the civic agencies to install online monitoring devices at the inlet and outlet of sewage treatment plants.

Tiruchi Tamilnadu school children collect data on Uyyakondan River pollution At a time when doubts were raised on genuineness of studies undertaken by some research scholars, a group of schoolchildren in Tiruchi have embarked on a serious project on environmental degradation of the Uyyakondan river because of the indiscriminate dumping of waste. As part of their project, the students have collected sample of soil and water at various points of the canal and sent them to a laboratory of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to test their quality.

YETTINAHOLE PROJECT SANDRP blogs Scientist’s Open Letter to Karnataka CM SANDRP is happy to publish full text of an Open Letter written by Dr. T.V. Ramchandran, Center for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, to Karnataka CM Shri. Siddaramaiah. The letter transparently questions Yettinahole Project, while strongly rebutting Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited’s propaganda against IISC Report which has established that Yettinahole Catchment does not have the 24.01 TMC water as per KNNL DPR, but only about 9 TMC water, which is used by the basin residents. He does not limit himself to hydrology and ecology, but with detailed rainfall analyses, also debunks the fact that Kolar and Chikkaballapur face acute water scarcity.

Scientist T.V. Ramachandra responds to government criticism of his report  Upset with the “offensive propaganda” by the State government over his report on the controversial Yettinahole diversion project, T.V. Ramachandra, Professor at the Indian Institute of Science has written to the Chief Minister asking him to ensure a proper scientific dialogue before undertaking an “environmentally-disastrous” project. Well said Dr. TV Ramachandran! We need more academics like him, addressing real life issues, not just ‘paper’ issues.

Also see, Yettinahole project an ecological disaster: IISC expert wrute to CM Karnataka

GANGA ‘37% of natural springs, which contribute directly to the Ganga, are drying up’ Due to a decrease in groundwater recharge and increase in surface flow, more sediment is eroded and transported. There is more erosion of soil and landslides in the mountains. This sediment is deposited in the foothill region or in the plains. The rate of siltation as it enters from the foothills to the plains is increasing. Increasing siltation is reducing the depth of the river. The water-holding capacity of the river is declining. As a result, the frequency of floods is increasing even with decreased rainfall. 

CPCB bars Bijnor U.P. sugar mills from discharging waste in Ganga Just before the commencement of the crushing season, the Central Pollution Control Board has passed instructions to the State Pollution Control Board, Lucknow, to issue notices to 119 owners of sugar mills situated along the Ganga in the state. Of these, nine mills are located in Bijnor district. The mill owners have also been directed to use water for irrigation instead of dumping waste it into the river. The report also says that the state ground water department’s data of last year shows that groundwater levels in 820 development blocks were ‘diminishing’. Of these 820 blocks, 111 are ‘over-exploited’, 68 ‘critical’ and 82 in ‘semi-critical’ state.  The state government has also directed the DMs of 75 districts to take action on the groundwater crisis. Meanwhile, sources told that mill owners seemed worried about the new orders as any further delay in crushing could cause them huge losses. 

NGT directs Uttarakhand Govt. to ensure no effluents reach Ganga after October 27 The tribunal had called industry and government representatives for the court hearing in a case filed by Kishen Kant Singh against polluting industries and ashrams along the Ganga.. A recent parliamentary committee report said in all Rs 2.2 lakh crore had been spent over 32 years on Ganga cleaning drive, and the Modi-led government expects its fresh clean-up drive to cost Rs 80,000 crore. The state informed the court there were 684 hotels, restaurants and dharamshalas on the river banks from Gomukh to Haridwar and 873 ashrams. Of these, 1212 have septic tanks, 460 are linked to sewer lines and 7 are directly discharging their effluents into the Ganga river. The state has told the tribunal they would be installing a sewage treatment plant of 40-MLD capacity in Haridwar.

Corporates invited to fix sewage in towns The government has been inviting corporates, both in the public and private sector, to ‘adopt’ towns and cities of their choice and fix the sewerage system there. The decision to rope in corporate groups in sewage management was taken because of fears that this fresh exercise of cleaning Ganga river might meet the fate of the Ganga Action Plan of 1985, under which successive governments spent close to Rs 4,000 crore over 30 years without any significant improvement in the pollution levels of the river. It was argued that urban local bodies, especially in smaller towns, did not have the capacity or expertise to plan and execute these projects. The companies will also be encouraged to create a market for treated water it can be used for industrial or agricultural purposes so that additional financial resources are created and the operation and maintenance of the sewage system becomes self-sustaining after some time.

Destroying the Ganga Economist Bharat Jhunjhunwala’s article on Ganga revealing Govt. hollow promises of cleaning the divine river and actual intentions of damming and degrading it into a water channel. 

Also see, अदालतों की फटकार और राज्य सरकारों के संकल्प के बावजूद गंगा की स्थिति जस की तस  गंगा कार्य योजना को शुरू हुए तीस साल हो गए। इस दौरान करीब पांच हजार करोड़ रुपए खर्च हुए। मगर हालत यह है कि हर साल गंगा में गंदगी और बढ़ी हुई दर्ज होती है।

YAMUNA Delhi high court rejects DTC’s plea, Millennium Depot to be shifted from Yamuna floodplain In a setback to the Delhi government, the high court shot down its attempts to wriggle out of an earlier undertaking to vacate the site where Millennium Bus Depot is currently situated. HC termed the DTC’s plea seeking change of land use for the temporary structure as an “abuse of court process” and reminded the corporation about its earlier commitment to relocate the depot. In its six page order court recorded the stand of DDA that it is not possible to change the master plan with regard to the site since steps taken for changing land use has “failed”. DTC had earlier assured the court it will vacate the current land by October 31, 2014. The deadline for relocation was later extended to August 20 by the court.

Batching plants on Yamuna: NGT notice to Larsen & Toubro Heeding to of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan plea NGT Bench issued a notice to Larsen & Toubro which is carrying out the extension of the third phase of Barapullah Elevated Road across the Yamuna. Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan had alleged that the firm has violated the green panel’s order which had prohibited any kind of construction activity on the flood plains on the river. The plea had sought a stay and imposition of fine on the ongoing constructions on the floodplains that had taken place on the river bed in violation of the Tribunal’s January 13 judgment. The matter is listed for next hearing on October 30.

Sand mafia builds bridge on Yamuna as link to Faridabad  Despite a NGT order two years ago restraining all sand mining activities without environmental clearance, illegal quarrying continues unabated along rivers with mighty water bodies like the Ganga and Yamuna dying a slow death. Reportedly it was the third bridge being built in the area to mine sand from the Noida floodplains and transport it to Haryana. According to officials, 300 truckloads of sand is mined daily from the Yamuna’s banks in Noida with the business raking in nearly Rs 50 lakh every day.

Dying Yamuna is no more capable to sustain fishing community  For a few generations now, people from Bihar and West Bengal have sustained themselves by fishing in the Yamuna. Life was much easier earlier when the river teemed with popular Indian carps such as the rohu, katla and mrigal and other species that allowed the fishermen to take a decent sum home. But now, the 22 km long stretch of the river in Delhi is nothing but a sewage drain devoid of all aquatic life.  Biologists also confirm that number and diversity of fish have gone down drastically. No wonder the fishermen are nostalgic about the good old days. Indeed, depending on the river for a living is now so fraught with risk that this might be the last generation of fishermen here.

One last push to save the Yamuna In comparison to the Ganga about which Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti waxes eloquent, her treatment towards the Yamuna can at best be described as step-motherly. Rashme Sehgal reports on efforts to save the Yamuna.

Also see, Yamuna May Be Less Polluted this Durga Puja

FLOODS                                                                                 

Fully prepared River Regulation Zone draft drowned in red tape for 13 years A river regulation zone draft policy which awaits government notification looks at dividing the area of the river floodplain into zones, the one closest to the river channel to be called “no development zone”. Environment Minister in the previous Congress government Jairam Ramesh also says it was a perfectly ready draft during his tenure itself that only needed to be notified. In the last one decade, India has faced flood disasters in Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha that caused massive losses of life, property and infrastructure. Floods in Jammu & Kashmir in 2014 claimed more than 200 lives and caused losses in excess of Rs 1 lakh crore. Indeed, lack of riverbed protection will lead to a lot of disasters.

WETLANDS                                                                           

Thane Municipal Corporation uses bio-remediation to clean polluted lakes Several small floating ‘oasis’ of green plants have been helping Thane Municipal Corporation to clean its polluted lakes that too in an environment-friendly manner. The pilot project has been initiated in three lakes. The result is that water quality has improved and there is reduction in the foul odour from the lakes. The pilot project is being carried out under the guidance of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute using Floating Wetlands or ‘Florafts’.

ENERGY OPTIONS                                                            

Himachal set to assess its solar potential, lack of transmission lines, land a problem The report mentions that as per the norms set by the Department of Non-Conventional Energy the year 2019-20, Himachal will have to generate at least 100 MW from renewable sources of energy. Recently Surya Ushma Private limited in collaboration with the South Africa group has proposed to invest in solar energy of around 100 MW initially and are also keen in manufacturing solar panels. Further the report reveals that tribal areas of Spiti and parts of Kinnaur have high potential for generation of solar and wind energy. The report also mention that lack of evacuation of power and land use as biggest hurdles in realization of this solar and wind potential.

MONSOON                                                                                 

New study explains near-annual Monsoon oscillations generated by El Nino The results, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show how the El Niño phenomenon interacts with the annual cycle of solar radiation in the western Pacific to generate a suite of new atmospheric pressure oscillations that affects wind and rainfall patterns in Southeast Asia, one of the densest populated areas on our planet. New study explains near-annual Monsoon oscillations generated by El Nino.

After a dry summer, Bangaluru is seeing one of the driest Octobers in years Over the past two weeks, temperatures have hovered at around 31 degree Celsius, which is three degrees above normal for this time of the month, says the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). The mercury is also just shy of the all-time October record of 32.4 degree Celsius recorded in 2002. A cloudless fortnight has also seen the city plunging deeper into the water crisis.

DROUGHT                                                                                

Farmer sells land to make film on drought in Nashik When Bhaurav Karade, a farmer from the drought-hit Shrigonda taluka of Ahmednagar district, suggested to his elder brother Vithhal that they sell off their land to produce a Marathi movie, the shock was greater than the drought they were reeling under. A year later, they are reaping the success of the award-winning film that has won accolades for its sensitive depiction of drought-hit farmers. The movie is about a community of farmers that migrates to escape the water crisis.

SOUTH ASIA

12,000 MW hydropower projects to be completed till 2018: Pak The Pakistan government has undertaken a large number of energy-cum-irrigation projects to tap hydel resources of the country. According sources in the Ministry of Water and Power told media that about 12,000 MW hydropower projects are currently under process. The report also says that several feasibilities studies on the Indus River cascade are underway for optimal utilization of its full potential.

Pakistan: Looking to hydropower to assure more reliable electricity Recently the foundation stone for a 40 MW hydropower project in Lower Dir was laid in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It has planned construction of 365 small dams. It will cost 117 million US dollars. Construction of four other small dams is also in progress. Ongoing research globally shows hydro power not only highly unreliable source of energy but disaster prone also given the climate change induced extreme weather events and erratic rain fall. Still many countries like Pak continue to invest and rely on it.

Bangladesh should be worried about China’s Zangmu dam on Brahmaputra China’s $1.5 billion Brahmaputra dam, known as Zangmu Hydropower Station, has raised some serious concerns in India and Bangladesh. Known as the Jamuna river in Bangladesh, any diversion of the waters by China could have some drastic effects for Bangladesh, as it is one of the two lower riparian countries (along with India). Indian ministers and officials are worried that the dam, the largest in Tibet, may reduce water flow downstream, in effect drying up the Brahmaputra. Indeed, Bangladesh needs to speak about these projects along with India.

Climate Change to aggravate water shortage to hit Nepal: study Climatic changes, an increase in agricultural land use and population growth could lead to severe water shortage  in Nepal in the coming decades, warns a new study. Using a sophisticated modelling tool called the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, the researchers were able to account for land use, soil types, topography and meteorology to predict future climate change and project snowmelt and stream flow to assess the effects of land use on water availability in Nepal.

Tibet sees receding glaciers, shrinking permafrost The Tibetan plateau, home to the third largest store of ice that feeds Asia’s six great rivers, is highly vulnerable to climate change, researchers say, warning that over two-thirds of the glaciers could disappear by 2050.Tibet is increasingly experiencing the effects of climate change. The Tibetan plateau has seen an increase in temperature of approximately 0.3 degrees Celsius every 10 years, say climate researchers of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Also read, Dalai Lama: Climate Change Is Destroying Tibet’s ‘Roof of the World’

CHINA

China’s new highest altitude Zam dam on Siang could be disastrous for India  The Zam dam is set on Siang, that feeds Brahmaputra as the lifeline of Assam, Arunachal. There are almost no studies in India to try and understand the impact of these projects put together, according to Himanshu Thakkar of the SANDRP. India first needs to get all information on such projects from China. It also needs to conduct a separate study to analyse the cumulative impact of all dams taken together. According SANDRP combining the impact of individual projects may not be enough and it suggests India to have cumulative impact assessment done before taking up the issue to the United Nations or to the International Court of Justice.

Misguided article by Indian Express that caters to pro Hydro vested interests With China commissioning Zangmu Hydropower station on upper Brahmaputra earlier this month, India seems to have lost its shot. Most misinformed, misleading, misguided and factually wrong piece, catering to pro hydro vested interests.

Swelling lake in China threatens endangered wildlife According this report the surface of Hoh Xil lake has grown from 45.89 square km in 2011 to the current 150.41 square km. It is located in Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve, home to several endangered species, including Tibetan antelopes and wild yaks. The Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world’s highest, is also threatened, as the distance between the lake and the track has been shortened from 12 to 9 km. Experts say the expansion of the lake is a result of the thawing of glaciers and increased rainfall under the influence of global warming. Local authorities have been closely monitoring the expansion of the lake, and are planning to counter it.

REST OF ASIA

Indigenous anti-dam activists converge in Sarawak from around the globe The conference, called the World Indigenous Summit on Environment and Rivers, is taking place on the island of Borneo in the Malaysian state of Sarawak and runs through October 26. It is centered in the town of Miri along Sarawak’s Baram River. Local indigenous people belonging to Penan, Kenyah, Kayan and other groups have led a two-year blockade against the proposed Baram hydropower dam sited on the upper reaches of the Baram River, staging encampments at the dam site itself and at a site along its access road.

Climate Change, multiple hydro projects posing threat to Mekong river Encroaching sea water from the south, a proliferation of hydro dams in the north and large-scale sand mining are endangering the Mekong delta. In the north, it is the pace of dam expansion that is causing most concern. Several dams upstream are already accused of disturbing the ecology of the river, which stretches nearly 5,000 km ( 8,047 miles) from Tibet in China to the sea. Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are planning to follow China’s lead by building a dozen more dams on the lower Mekong. According to International Rivers, an organisation working on trans-boundary rivers, China has built six “mega dams” on the river and is planning another 14 over the next 10 years.

Cambodian Villagers Demand Compensation For Expected Impact of China-Backed Dam Villagers in northern Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province on Tuesday urged the government to suspend construction of a Chinese-backed dam until they are promised compensation for flooding they say will inundate area communities, forests and farmland if the project is allowed to proceed. The villagers from Oddar Meanchey’s Chong Kal district told RFA’s Khmer Service that Chinese developer Sinohydro had recently transported various pieces of equipment to nearby Phnom Atoar to assist in building the Steung Sreng II dam and demanded authorities suspend construction. 

Recent floods deal devastating blow to agricultural livelihoods and food security in Myanmar – UN A new joint United Nations agency-Myanmar Government report paints a grim picture of the destruction caused by flooding in the country, where more than half a million hectares of rice paddy were affected and almost a quarter of a million livestock were killed, including poultry, cattle, pigs and goats, when Cyclone Komen struck in late July and early August this year. A press release on the findings, compiled by the Government alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme reveals rice to have been the most-affected crop, with an expected slash in production of up to 89 per cent in damaged paddy fields, compared to the same time last year. According to the National Natural Disaster Management Committee, 122 people lost their lives and up to 1.6 million people were displaced.

REST OF THE WORLD

Finally after twenty years of struggle Chixoy dam affected communities are compensated On October 15, Juan Alfonso Cifuentes Soria, the new Vice-President of Guatemala, delivered checks in total of $11,205 to 120 families from Pacux and Río Negro, who were among those most impacted by construction of the dam. The first check went to Teodora Chen, a massacre survivor. The next batch of checks will go to 206 families in Chicruz. In total, 33 communities will be paid individual compensation of $22,183,077.30. For more than twenty years, Chixoy Dam affected communities had been demanding reparations for the damages caused by the project, which was built during Guatemala’s most repressive military dictatorship. The project forcibly displaced more than 3,500 Maya Achi community members. More than 6,000 families living in the area also suffered loss of land and livelihoods. When community members opposed relocation and sought better compensation, they were massacred, tortured and kidnapped. For years survivors have lived in extreme poverty but never given up their call for justice.

World Bank treats human rights like an infectious disease, says UN official In a remarkably frank report, Philip Alston, an independent investigator appointed by the United Nations and a distinguished law professor with wide experience in the field, has accused the World Bank of being a “human rights-free zone” which “treats human rights more like an infectious disease than universal values and obligations”. The UN special rapporteur, in his report to the UN General Secretary, says that the World Bank, formed in 1944 to facilitate post-war reconstruction in the aftermath of World War II, “has sought to present itself as a functional, technical agency and hence one that is above the political fray.” This so true, having seen the World Bank in Narmada and many other projects.

Los Angeles considers $1 billion ‘toilet to tap’ water program, experts do not find it drought proof The Metropolitan Water District, Southern California’s largest water importer, is moving toward a “toilet to tap” program that could eventually result in human wastewater being transformed into drinking water. The concept behind “toilet to tap” is that the same purification that takes place when water moves through the earth, lakes or other natural features can be replicated in a man-made system. At its completion, the project under consideration would be the largest in the world and could cost upwards of $1 billion. However, Ellen Hanak, director of the Policy Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center said water recycling is “not completely drought-proof as in a severe drought like this one, people conserve a lot and the more they conserve on indoor use, the less goes to the wastewater treatment plant.

Is freshwater supply more dependent on good governance than geography? Research Paper Research have analysed 19 different characteristics critical to water supply management in 119 low per capita income countries. The researchers sought to identify freshwater supply vulnerabilities using four broad categories; endowment (availability of source water), demand, infrastructure and institutions (e.g. government regulations). The study results showed that institutional vulnerability is common — occurring in 44 of the countries and those 23 countries showed vulnerabilities in all four categories. Surprisingly, many geographically disparate nations have similar water supply vulnerability ‘fingerprints’, suggesting that sharing experiences could be useful for shaping actual water supply management strategies within and across nations. The paper can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7x8wrqmhcut0g4t/erl_10_10_104014.pdf?dl=0

Map IDs farmland with greatest potential for replenishing groundwater Growers, researchers, policymakers and others can now pinpoint California’s most promising parcels of farmland to help replenish the state’s dwindling groundwater supplies, thanks to a new interactive map developed by the California Soil Resource Lab at the University of California, Davis. The Soil Agricultural Groundwater Banking Index provides site-specific information on millions of acres of California farmland based on previous research led by Toby O’Geen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist with the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. The index provides details on the groundwater-recharge potential for any parcel, which you can search for by address or access using your device’s GPS. This work by University of California can be very model if we could do the same.

Aquafina Admits It’s Just Tap Water We’re paying 2,000 times more for bottled versions of the same water you’d take a bath in. The world’s biggest bottled water brand is going to start admitting that it comes from the exact same source as the tap water disdained by snobs. USA Today reports Aquafina has changed its labels to specify Public Water Source under pressure from Accountability International.

Buying bottled water for your health? Stop it The report briefly explains why apart from solid waste problems bottled water should be avoided for lack of transparency in regulatory measures, uncertainty over source of water and BPA compound found in them. Besides keeping bottled water for long duration makes them unfit for consumption. In comparison it finds tap water healthier than bottled one.

Also see, 20 shocking photos of water pollution around the world  

CLIMATE CHANGE

India’s commitment to carbon cuts needs to be more detailed News report on the Nagraj Adve and Ashish Kothari’s research paper titled A Flawed Climate Road Map that examines and sheds light on India’s carbon reduction target proposed for Paris Climate Sumit. Welcome comment on India’s INDC submitted to UNFCCC on Oct 2 by Nagraj Adve and Ashish Kothari, among many other welcome statements, clear conclusion: “Large hydro is simply not ‘clean energy’.” even as India’s INDC includes large hydro as climate friendly option.

Read, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon explaining how unsuccessful afforestation plan has been and how Indian forest can be protecting. 

Govt. to hold talk on Climate Change on 26 Oct 2015 Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar will hold a “My Gov Talk” on October 26, Monday, at 5.00 pm. The talk will focus on Climate Change in the run-up to the Conference of Parties 21 in Paris from November 30-December 11, 2015.  Contributors from My Gov, Climate Change experts, senior journalists and social media influencers will join the online panel discussion with Shri Javadekar.  It is expected to be of 45-minutes duration and is being conducted in collaboration with Google India. Citizens are invited to share their ideas, questions and inputs on India’s role in CoP-21.  

One of the strongest El-Nino development underway It has choked Singapore with smoke, triggered Pacific typhoons and left Vietnamese coffee growers staring nervously at dwindling reservoirs. In Africa, cocoa farmers are blaming it for bad harvests, Its effects are just beginning in much of the world for the most part, it hasn’t really reached North America and yet it’s already shaping up potentially as one of the three strongest El Nino patterns since record-keeping began in 1950. It will dominate weather’s many twists and turns through the end of this year and well into next. The last time there was an El Nino of similar magnitude to the current one, the record-setting event of 1997-1998, floods, fires, droughts and other calamities killed at least 30,000 people and caused $100 billion in damage.

It’s Undeniable: Climate Change Made Hurricane Patricia Worse Scientists who study the link between hurricanes and climate change have long predicted, and debated, the trend of stronger tropical cyclones. The latest science seems to have settled on climate change boosting the frequency of the strongest hurricanes, even as total hurricane numbers may remain flat. Meteorologically, there are at least four reasons why global warming could have contributed to Patricia’s ferocity: El Niño, exceptionally warm ocean temperatures, increased atmospheric humidity, and sea level rise.

Disintegrating Rockies glacier sends ‘strong message’ on climate One of the world’s longest-studied glaciers is melting so fast in the heart of the Canadian Rockies that scientists say it is “disintegrating” before their eyes, causing monitoring stations to collapse. The Peyto Glacier in Banff National Park has long been regarded as a key global reference site for climate change studies. But the ice has started to crumble so quickly that clusters of scientific instruments mounted on poles drilled deep into the ice are toppling over and other data collection sites are flooding.

Developed world’s climate change targets less than fair: Report The US has committed to only a fifth of its fair share and the European Union just over a fifth in the fight against climate change through its new targets, concludes a first-of-its-kind collective assessment by some of the top global non-governmental organisations working on climate change across the North-South divide. The authors took 1850 as base year to calculate the historical emissions and to measure the reductions in absolute terms against the base year. China, the authors assessed, should have reduced 3,371 MTCO2e of emissions but has offered to reduce 4,888 MTCO2e by 2030. India could have fairly taken a burden of reducing emissions by 54 MTCO2e but has committed to reducing it by 280 MTCO2e.

Civil society observers barred from climate change talks in Bonn As delegations from 196 countries woke up to a more balanced second draft for Paris agreement in Bonn, the gathered civil society faced a lockout from the meet of the negotiations over the next four days. The two co-chairs of the talks decided that civil society groups would be barred from observing the closed-door negotiations. They were backed by Japan and opposed by Malaysia speaking for the Like-Minded Developing Countries, of which India and China are also members, and the G77+China group of developing countries. Most others including the US and the EU kept quiet.

Developing countries irked by report saying climate change funds delivered OECD report says $62 bn given in 2014-15; developing nations allege creative accounting and green-washing. A recent report from the OECD claiming $62 billion has have been mobilised as climate finance in 2014-15 against the developed countries’ commitments of annual $100 billion by 2020 has caused a storm at the UN climate change negotiations in Bonn. Developing countries, including India, have collectively questioned the veracity of the contents, suggesting creative accounting and green-washing of existing global fund flows to paint a more rosy rather a real picture. They have also questioned the timing and purpose of the report weeks ahead of the Paris agreement.

Big polluters, pay up The world’s biggest polluters continues to reap billions in profits, while receiving huge energy subsidies from governments. According to a 2013 study by the scientist Rick Heede, nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide emitted since the 1750s can be traced to just 90 of the largest fossil fuel and cement-producing entities, most of which still operate. If no action is taken, such lawsuits will only become more frequent and difficult to defeat. Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal need to accept responsibility for climate change and start making real contributions to adaptation, or prepare to battle for their own survival—a battle that, in the long term, they simply cannot win.

Climate Change Could Wreck the Global Economy The researchers behind the study, published in the journal Nature, found that temperature change due to unmitigated global warming will leave global GDP per capita 23% lower in 2100 than it would be without any warming.

Climate justice: Walking the talk Rita Sharma former Secretary to Ministry of Rural Development, & National Advisory Council  writes that the rural poor are the most vulnerable to climate variability. The ends of climate justice will be served by building the resilience of millions of farmers, pastoralists, forest-dwellers, herders and fisher-folk against the ill-effects of climate change.

ENVIRONMENT

CPCB, MoEF springs into action to arrest growing pollution Taking note of its internal report which showed severe negligence on part of municipal bodies in managing solid waste, the Central Pollution Control Board has issued notices to civic authorities of 184 cities/towns across the country asking them to pull up their socks or face action. Besides, the environment ministry has decided to depute 20 joint secretary-level officers to undertake assessment and periodic review of all 43 Critically Polluted Areas mainly industrial clusters — across the country to see whether the central action plan is being properly implemented or not to minimize the impact of pollution.

Projects stuck, Supreme Court transfers 300 cases to NGT, govt bodies In a move likely to speed up various projects across the country that are stuck awaiting a nod from the Supreme Court’s Green Bench, the apex court transferred more than 300 cases to the NGT and various Central and state-level committees for final decisions. The Green Bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, decided to let go of several cases for swift decisions by appropriate authorities in the Central and state governments and by the NGT, thereby also shedding its pendency.

Consumption injurious to the planet’s health Sujatha Byravan of Centre for Study of Science, Technology & Policy writes that about five per cent of Indians, constituting 60 million people consume at the same level as Europeans, but this is also growing at an alarming rate. Moreover, they set the aspirational bar for most other Indians moving up the economic ladder, which itself demands that we be less sanguine about our “sustainable lifestyle”.

Also see, पर्यावरण के नजरिए से आहार आधुनिक पशुपालन ने प्रकृति और मनुष्य से भारी कीमत वसूल की है। इसमें पशु आहार तैयार करने के लिए रासायनिक उर्वरकों, कीटनाशकों और पानी का अत्यधिक उपयोग किया जाता है। इससे जल अकाल, वायु और जल प्रदूषण, मिट्टी की उर्वरा शक्ति में गिरावट जैसी स्थितियां पैदा हो रही हैं।

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