DRP News Bulletin 21 March 2016 (‘Towards Noyyal’ A people’s initiative to restore a river’s glory)

Tamil Nadu A people’s initiative to restore a river’s glory The Noyyal River Restoration Federation will launch ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ (Towards Noyyal), a people’s initiative to restore the Noyyal river system on 26 March. Social activist Anna Hazare will launch the project at Kooduthurai in Alandurai in Coimbatore district. The river originates in the Western Ghats and runs through the four districts to join the Cauvery at Noyyal village. Known as Jungle stream, in olden times as many as 34 streams used to feed water into it and the river would flow throughout the year with two or three annual flood spell.  But now, just 4 or 5 streams feed the river. In many places, the river is encroached upon, sewage is let into it, or the river needs to be desilted. The river is all set to regain its glory with the ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ initiative. What is encouraging is the willingness of the public to be part of it. The project proposes to divide the river into segments of 500 metres for restoration and maintenance. Ownership groups will be formed for every 500 metres and it will consist of the local people, experts and patrons (divide-distribute-develop model).

HYDRO POWER 

Manipur Local residents protest over 190mw Pabram HEP A joint community protest meeting was organised by various community organizations to register their protest against proposed 190 MW Pabram Hydroelectric Project over the Barak River at Lungdi Pabram village in  Tamenglong district on 16 March. The event was organized as part of three-day (14-16 March) observation of International Rivers Day with the theme “Protection of Barak River”. Villagers of Lungdi Pabram, Taipram, Philong, Taningjam, Tharon in Tamenglong district attended the meet. In the meeting experts & concerns discussed whole range of issues related to construction of proposed dam from possible socio economic, livelihood & intergenerational impacts to need for protection of survival sources for communities to alternative energy source. The meeting adopted several resolutions, especially to “Let the Barak River Flow Free”. Also see, International Rivers Day observed across State

Uttarakhand Development Required, Not Dams On occasion of International Day of Action for Rivers, Vishnugaad Peepalkoti Dam affected people have sent the message of “River’s health is vital for people’s survival” to communities across the world. THDC and World Bank alliance has failed miserably in fulfilling the hope of people in Ganga Valley, and now they are also trying to go to other countries like Bhutan. We strongly oppose this in India and appeal to the people of other countries to do the same against the funding by World Bank to Big Dam projects in the name of clean energy. This is Matu Jan Sangthan press release on International Day of Action for Rivers.

DAMS

National Storage status of 91 major reservoirs The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on March 17, 2016 was 43.394 BCM which is 27% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 70%of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 74% of storage of average of last ten years.  States having better storage than last year for corresponding period are Andhra Pradesh and Tripura. States having equal storage than last year for corresponding period is West Bengal. States having lesser storage than last year for corresponding period are Himachal Pradesh, AP&TG (Two combined project in both states), Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Chhattisgarh State Assembly passes Resolution on Polavaram dam height The Assembly on 18 March  passed a non-official resolution urging the Centre to ensure that the maximum submergence level of Indira Sagar Polavaram dam, being built across Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, does not exceed 150 feet. The dam is coming up on the border of Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh. An increase in its height will submerge several tribal-dominated villages in Konta region. Brijmohan Agrawal Water Minister Chhattisgarh had earlier assured that the state government would safeguard the interests of people of Chhattisgarh. After discussion, the non-official resolution was passed unanimously in the House.  

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

SYL Row India is probably staring at its next challenge to its federal polity—water wars The face-off between Punjab & Haryana over sharing of Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water has put the spotlight on brewing confrontations between states across India over access to water. Many other states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka are fighting over the Krishna and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry over the Cauvery. The newly formed states of Telangana & Andhra Pradesh too have locked horns over numerous water projects. Water expert Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP warned that the way Punjab is acting is constitutionally incorrect and the state governments’ handling of river issues has been getting worse and if this continues, they would give enough justification to the Centre to take control of the rivers, which would be a big loss for the states as the need is to decentralize rivers not centralize them.  Also see, Water Wars: Competitive Politics Drowning Out Reason? NDTV discussion on SYL issue featuring Yogendar Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan & Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP among other panellists.

SYL Op-ED Punjab SYL bill endangers the cooperative federalism of country  The SAD may believe it has pulled a rabbit out of the hat by passing a bill to return land acquired for the SYL canal & hopes the uncomfortable questions will be water under the bridge with the anti-SYL bill. The cynicism and short-sightedness behind the competitive politics over the SYL canal, and the parochial debate have obscured the serious implications of the bill for inter-state relations across the country. The bill is bad in law. It also endangers the cooperative federalism on which India rests.

Centre deprived Punjab of its Rivers waters share In 1976, the PM pressured by the defence minister divided Punjab’s 7 MAF between Punjab and Haryana and the State  was left with only 3.5 out of 15.2 MAF. In joint Punjab, the Yamuna was the boundary with UP, and it had a right on a share of the waters. Much later, the Yamuna was shared between Haryana, UP and Rajasthan by a sudden secret Delhi decision on which Punjab was kept in the dark and ignored. The Rajasthan canal, carrying 10,000 cusecs a day, caused severe water logging in Ferozepur and Muktsar but Rajasthan refused to give a penny in compensation. The same water logging damage will happen with the SYL.  

Water sharing disputes can’t be resolved by courts or tribunals Many river water disputes had persisted in India post independence. The difference between them and Punjab’s case is that Rajasthan was never a riparian state in respect of the Ravi, Beas or Sutlej, and Haryana’s case needs closer examination as abutting the Yamuna it belongs to that watershed, whereas the Indus river system runs south-west.  These are thus not issues resolvable by courts or tribunals. Politicians, both in Delhi and Chandigarh, need to abandon Centre-state and interstate confrontation. Punjab too should abjure arguing it would not give a drop of water to another Indian. Instead, it should seek Central financial support for the entire region, including Haryana and Rajasthan, transitioning to a model based on low-water consumption and sustainable new organic agriculture, targeting products at a richer India requiring fruits, vegetables and pulses. The new model should not pollute or deplete aquifers beyond recouping assuming that weather pattern changes may shrink the rivers.

SYL Row States at War The ongoing war over SYL canal between Punjab & Haryana took a new twist on 16 March after Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal dispatched a Rs 191-crore cheque to Manohar Lal his counterpart in Haryana.  On the other hand the Haryana assembly had also passed a resolution against de-notification of the 3,928-acre land acquired for SYL canal. The canal runs over a 214-km stretch, out of which 112 km lies in Punjab and 92km in Haryana. The payment to the land owners, mostly farmers, was jointly given by the Centre and Haryana govt. Badal had on 14 March moved a bill to stop construction of the SYL canal while proposing to return the entire land free of cost to their owners 40 years after it was acquired. However Punjab opposition party alleges the govt deliberately did not take the Bill to the governor for his immediate assent who has the choice to either turn it down or recommend it to the President.

Meanwhile the Haryana Vidhan Sabha also on 14 March passed a “unanimous” resolution, condemning the passage of a Bill by the Punjab Assembly that de-notified land for the SYL Canal. It termed the Bill “unilateral and unconstitutional” and said the Bill denied the authority of the SC, “a step only to draw political mileage”. On the other side, same day Haryana tried in vain in the SC to prevent Punjab from getting the Bill passed in the Assembly for the return of over 5,000 acres of land acquired for construction of the SYL canal. On the other hand on 15 March AAP CM Arvind Kejriwal put himself in trouble by stating that AAP was against the construction of the canal as Punjab does not have enough water to share with other states. Realizing the implications of the statements the CM later took U-turn on it especially after Haryana irrigation Minister shot off a letter to Delhi Govt. strongly criticizing the Delhi govt stand on SYL canal and asking it to construct a separate canal for Yamuna water.

In a surprising turn of events two days after the Punjab Assembly passed a bill providing for transfer of proprietary rights back to the land owners free of cost farmers in some villages of Patiala and Ropar districts started levelling canal land for cultivation. Sources said police officials present at the spot were seen clearing the passage. In some cases, they even arranged the JCB machines. A Presidential Reference in this regard is pending in the SC & Punjab Governor is yet to give his ascent to the Bill but farmers have already started demolishing the canal structure and filling the land.  The act of canal levelling by farmers incited by local politicians has resulted in uprooting of thousands of tree along the Canal. As the digging work was in progress, snakes, rabbits, lizards, partridges and blue bulls were seen running for cover. At Thuha village, farmers killed snakes and some rabbits. The Forest Department has shot off a letter to the respective deputy commissioners, urging them to provide police protection to stop plundering of the green cover.  Also see Decades on, why SYL canal remains a bridge too far for Punjab, Haryana

IRRIGATION  

Centre Jaitley’s $13-bn for water plan that’s failed 66 mn farmers According to CAG the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) has failed to achieve its targeted objective of accelerating completion of large irrigation projects and delivery of benefits of irrigation water to farmers. Few facts regarding ABIP (a) Only 26% of target met: Till 2008, with Rs 34,000 crore spent, AIBP could irrigate no more than 5 million of 19 million hectares it intended to. As of March 2014, 9.5 million hectare is irrigated by AIBP projects, as per the latest data. (b) Irrigation efficiency drops 55 percentage points: The efficiency of irrigation actual land watered as percentage of capacity created dropped from 84% during the VII Plan (1985-1990), to 29% during the XI plan (2007-2011) (c) Of capacity created, only 33% of farmland got water: Of the irrigation capacity created by the AIBP during 2007-11, only a third of farmland actually got water, the Economic Survey 2015-16 said. It is interesting and informative piece revealing the failure of ABIP.

PM Narendra Modi’s new growth recipe: just add water Modi Govt. in the 2016-17 budget has pledged a record $18 billion to expand irrigation & recharge aquifers aiming to double farmer’s incomes by 2022. However stalled projects tell a cautionary tale for politicians making big promises. More than 200 irrigation projects worth some $36 billion have been stuck for years due to bureaucratic sloth, corruption, opposition to land acquisition & lack of coordination within the government.  Poor coordination between New Delhi and the states is one of the biggest challenges. Nearly 60% of the irrigation for farms now comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast depleting water tables. Also see, Text of PM’s speech at Krishi Unnati Mela 2016

Telangana State spend 1/3 of budget on irrigation Telangana Finance Minister Eatala Rajender on 14 March presented a budget with an outlay of ₹1,30,415cr for the financial year 2016-17 with bulk of allocations going for the irrigation sector. A little less than 1/3 of the planned expenditure of ₹67,631 crore has been allocated for the irrigation sector. ₹26,657cr have been allotted to govt’s flagship programmes Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya the sector that seeks to revive 46,000 tanks & provide drinking water to all households in 12 municipalities & 6100 villages. On the other hand the fund-starved Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board has been given Rs1000cr against demand of Rs.1750cr  however an additional Rs 200cr is given to the board to acquire land for 2 proposed reservoirs for the city. For the first time, the water board had sent a proposal to the municipal administration & urban development department seeking allocation of Rs 200 crore exclusively for paying electricity bills but not a single rupee was allotted under the head in the budget. Apart from these proposals, the board had sought Rs400cr for conducting a survey and acquisition of land for two dedicated reservoirs proposed at Keshavapuram of Shamirpet mandal in Ranga Reddy district and Devalamma Nagaram of Chowtuppal mandal in Nalgonda district.

Bihar State couldn’t spend Central funds for ‘micro irrigation’ BJP chief Mangal Pandey on 13 March criticised State Govt for its failure to utilise funds meant or ‘micro irrigation’ scheme from Central govt. He alleged that the state govt under micro irrigation scheme in 2014-15 could spend merely Rs 3cr against Rs35cr which the Centre had released for the purpose. Similarly, till 15 Feb this year, the state government could not spend a single penny out of Rs10crore for micro-irrigation scheme in 2015-16 while Centre had allocated Rs 20 crore for the purpose. The Central government had made a provision of Rs 1550cr for micro-irrigation scheme across the country in 2015-16 that with a big jump of 51% witnessed an allocation of Rs 2340crore in 2016-17.

Gujarat Kolis, farmers to hold meet against Dholera SIR State unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj and Gujarat Khedut Samaj (GKS) will be jointly organising a “mahasammelan” of all the communities from 22 villages of Dholera taluka at Dholera-Bhavnagar highway on 24 April to demand scrapping of the proposed Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR). Addressing media persons on 15 March, state Koli Samaj president and former Congress MP Kunvarji Bavalia and GKS leader Sagar Rabari said that DSIR provisions were “anti-farmer” and “unconstitutional”’ and hence, it should be abolished forthwith.

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam State ACB drops Gadkari aide’s name from irrigation scam FIR In a move that has raised eyebrows, the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has dropped the name of SL Kholapurkar Superintending Engineer (SE) of the Ghodazari irrigation project from an FIR it registered last month against officials and contractors. The SE is now the officer on special duty of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari after taking VRS from state water resources department. He is authorised to receive and open tender bids of public works. Nagpur ACB, which conducted the probe, had named Kholapurkar as an accused in its final report submitted to the state ACB in Mumbai. Raising doubt over ACB fair probe claim Anil Kilor of Jan Manch the NGO which has filed a petition against irrigation scam alleged that the ACB wanted to protect some important people.

RIVERS

National India not treating more than half the waste water it generates: CPCB According to CPCB the total volume of municipal wastewater generation at about 61,948 MLD as against the installed sewage treatment capacity of 23,277 MLD leaving a wide gap of more than 38,671 MLD. CPCB monitors the quality of water bodies at 2500 locations across the country. Based on the magnitude of organic pollution, CPCB in 2008 identified 150 polluted river stretches which increased to 302 in 2015. This information was given to Lok Sabha by Prakash Javadekar Union Environment Minister on 15 March 2016.

Maharashtra Nag River may soon be pollution free A deal with NTPC to use treated sewage water from city at its Mauda thermal power plant has paved the way for a pollution free Nag River. The public-sector power major has accepted the civic body’s proposal to use water from proposed STP with installed capacity of 200 MLD. The agreement will also save raw water that could be used for irrigation or drinking purposes. Around 250 MLD untreated sewage flows into the Nag. This also pollutes Kanhan and finally Gosikhurd reservoir on Vainganga. Nagpur civic bodies is now collecting 130MLD from Nag River and treating it. The remaining sewage going into Nag and some flowing into Pili and Pora rivers will be drawn to make 200 MLD for the new STP.

Odisha NHRC seeks report over toxic water release by Tata Steel The National Human Rights Commission has sought action taken report from Odisha State Pollution Control Board within 4 weeks over release of toxic polluted water by Tata Steel in Kalinganagar endangering the lives of the people living in villages around. The order came up from the Commission on a petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, who has alleged the inaction of authorities of Forest and Environment department endangering the lives of people of 11 villages.

Karnataka With no solution in sight, Govt to look beyond Yettinahole On 14 March MB Patil, Water Resources Minister said that the state govt is considering to tap at least 10 tmcft Sharavati river to quench the thirst of people of Bengaluru, Chikballapur & Kolar districts. About Mekedatu project, the minister said the state govt. would soon submit a report to the CWC seeking environment & other clearances. The minister also said the that demand for desilting Tungabhadra Dam near Hosapete is economically unviable and the technical committee set up to look into the issue has suggested construction of a balancing reservoir downstream of the existing reservoir or another in the upstream to make up for the loss of storage capacity.

Assam Fishing banned to protect dolphins Kamrup district administration has imposed a ban on fishing in the Brahmaputra in certain areas, keeping in mind the danger faced by the Ganges River Dolphin. Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu emphasized the urgent need to protect the dolphin. According to the order, any kind of fishing activity in the Brahmaputra, in the stretch from Saraighat Bridge to the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority intake well point at Pandu, is prohibited. Besides, the Kamrup administration, along with an NGO Help Earth, has launched a campaign to choose the city’s animal.

GANGA Centre Ganga river dolphin on verge of extinction: govt The water resource ministry has informed the Lok Sabha that the total population of the Ganga river dolphin is estimated to be between 2,500-3,000 in its entire distribution range, out of which more than 80% is within the Indian territory. According to the Wild Life Institute of India this species is facing series of threats for survival in recent years, the minister said. Various organisations like WII and the environment ministry has informed that activities like construction of dams and barrages, embankments etc besides unsustainable obstruction of river water and sand mining among others are mainly responsible for shrinking of habitat and decline of Ganga river dolphins. Ganga river dolphins are listed in Schedule-1 of the wild life protection act and thereby according them the highest degree of protection during hunting.

Uma Bharti to release DPR on Forestry Interventions for Ganga On occasion of World Water Day on 22 March 2016 Uma Bharti will release Detailed Project Report on Forestry Intervention for Ganga in New Delhi. The Forest Research Institute has submitted the draft Detail Project Report to the NMCG on 15 Feb 2016. A day long workshop has also been organised to mark the release of DPR. According to another news report the government will announce a comprehensive action plan to clean up the Ganga in the next two months and is mulling an audit to find out the quantity of pure and contaminated water in the country. The plan is three-pronged with focus on cleaning, beautification and free flow of the Ganga and will be announced between April 30 and May 15 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Meanwhile on 14 March replying to a question in Rajya Sabha Prakash Javadekar said that no environmental clearance has been granted to any project on river Ganga in the last two years. It seems Govt. considers only Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and Mandakini as GANGA whereas hydro projects are being pushed in Pindar the tributary of Alaknand and 120mw hydro project is being built on Yamuna at Dehradun which will adversly affect the Ganga. Also see, 20 water recycling plants coming up on Ganga: Nitin Gadkari

Uttarakhand Debris in Ganga in Haridwar will be cleared The Uttarakhand government on 14 March said it would ensure the removal of the debris blocking the flow of Ganga in Haridwar. A huge deposit of debris after the flash floods of 2013 has choked the river at places, disrupting the flow of water to all its banks.  The issue was raised by BJP MLA Madan Kaushik during the Zero Hour in the state assembly. He said some seers were on an indefinite fast in Haridwar, demanding that the residue be cleared. Responding to it, State Irrigation Minister Yashpal Arya said the government would take necessary steps in this regard. Actually this what the Matri Sadan is protesting of long.

YAMUNA Delhi Yamuna banks in NCR already a disaster zone Large parts of the Yamuna riverbed along Noida, Greater Noida and some portions in Delhi have been encroached by land sharks and converted into real estate flats, farmhouses, bungalows, cottages. In Noida illegal farmhouses are mushrooming along the Yamuna riverbank between sectors 94 and 151, most of them next to sectors 127, 135 and 151 that fall along the expressway. The land is sold illegally. Already, hundreds of concrete structures have mushroomed on these plots, with some houses sitting metres away from the water. On several occasions in the past, TOI has highlighted this issue. After each expose, the administration took some action, but each time, land sharks returned after a few days to continue their activities right under the noses of the administrations of both UP and Delhi. Also see, More constructions choking Yamuna

AOL Controversy NGT panel to visit Yamuna floodplains, assess damage caused by AoL event A panel of experts from the NGT will visit the Yamuna floodplains this week to assess the damage the Art of Living’s (AOL) 3-day festival caused to the eco-sensitive zone. The green court will use the panel’s recommendations to measure the amount of additional fine to be imposed on AOL. The NGT had fined the organisation R5 crore as the initial environment compensation. The DDA will plan how to remove debris after the NGT panel submits its report. But the DDA could not explain to the tribunal who dumped the debris on the floodplain despite security and quick response team to stop dumping. The authority is yet to install CCTV cameras to monitor the floodplain and check dumping of garbage.

Greens rightly advised AOL not to trample Yamuna land A large swathe of the ecologically-fragile Yamuna floodplain in east Delhi resembled a garbage-littered wasteland on 14 March, a grim by product of the Art of Living’s three-day cultural festival. Puddles from sporadic rains over the past couple of days confirmed environmentalists’ worst fears about how tinkering with the floodplain’s top soil will diminish its water absorption capacity. Amid this, in an interview Manoj Misra & Anand Arya speak about the concerns that led them to petition against the Art of Living event, and its aftermath. In one more interview Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abiyan explains how the decision has undermined NGT own prestige by allowing AOL event. On the other side, on 10 March Opposition parties cornered the government in the Rajya Sabha on issue of AOL event describing the construction on the Yamuna floodplains as “destruction unseen in history”. Proceedings were disrupted throughout Zero Hour even as the government claimed that all permissions had been taken for the event. The government’s defence failed to cut ice with the Opposition & MPs from the JD (U), Congress and Left parties shouted slogans, some of them from the well of the House.  Also see, Yamuna farmers unhappy with AoL compensation. Meanwhile over the past week, AOL workers have cleaned up Yamuna floodplain of garbage that piled up during 3-day programe. While the visible signs of the damage to riverfront have disappeared, wiping out event’s long-lasting imprint may prove tough. According to news report in the wake of the illegal construction of a large building in the East Kolkata Wetlands by AOL Dhrubajyoti Ghosh special adviser to the International Union for Conservation of Nature has written to the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

SAND MINING     

Andhra Pradesh Probe ordered into beach sand mining irregularities Replying to a question in State Assembly on 14 March Peethala Sujatha Minister for Mines govt said that two mining leases for beach sand minerals are being held by M/s Transworld Garnet India Pvt. Ltd and M/s East West Mineral Sands Pvt. Ltd over an extent of 94.085 hectares & 720 hectares respectively and certain irregularities have been brought to the notice of the government but no action had been taken despite the company having No Objection Certificate for 158 hectares under mining. According to one more news the govt. has directed district officials to register cases under Prevention of Detention Act against those who are involved in illegal sand mining the Deputy CM of the State who also holds Home portfolio, held a meeting via video conference facility with collectors of 13 districts and senior police officials on 17 March and directed officials to take stringent action against illegal sand miners and owners of vehicles that are engaged in such activities.

Kerala Tough action curtails sand-mining In the last two years, the number of vehicles seized from the Ottappalam-Shornur- Thrithala stretch of the river crossed 550. According to PB Nooh Sub-Collector Ottappalam the department Revenue Department has auctioned 400 vehicles and remaining would be auctioned soon. He also said that  the tough measures initiated by department  have started yielding results as its special squad remains active throughout the night and it has large-scale public participation in efforts to nab those engaged in sand-mining. The fine collected from violators in the last one-and-a-half years alone was around Rs 1 crore.

Tamil Nadu Cop secures bail after being held for illegal sand mining Forest officials booked 5 cops under Section 21 of the Tamil Nadu Forest Act, 1882 and produced them before a local court that remanded four of them in judicial custody while one was granted bail. This is the 10th incident of arrest and seizure of vehicles in the last one week from the region for illegal sand mining. The entire stretch of the Malattar River in the district falls under reverse forest area. Illegal mining of sand is rampant in this region. Forest officials have been keeping vigil to prevent mining. A staff member who spotted the gang mining sand on 12 March alerted the department officials. We surrounded and nabbed the gang members the next day morning according to Villupuram district forest officer S Anand.

Karnataka DC warns of stringent action against illegal sand mining Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim on 17 March warned of impounding boats indulging in illegal sand extraction from river beds in coastal regulatory zones in the district. The permission for sand extraction in CRZ area given by Union Environment Ministry had expired on January 16. The boats were allowed to be berthed on the plea that their removal might damage the boats and extractors would face difficulty in bringing them back to the river after MoEF renews the clearance for extraction. However, there were many instances of extractors mining sand during the night and transporting it illegally, Mr. Ibrahim noted.

Rajasthan रेत माफिया ने एसडीएम पर किया हमला, डूबोकर मारने की कोशिश रेतमाफियाओं पर कार्रवाई करने पहुंचे एसडीएम पर जानलेवा हमला हो गया। ताप्ती नदी के जैनाबाद रपटे के पास करीब 200 लोगों ने एसडीएम और अमले पर पथराव किया। उन्हें नदी में डूबोकर मारने की कोशिश भी की। एसडीएम केआर बड़ोले अन्य अफसरों के साथ बुधवार शाम ताप्ती नदी पहुंचे थे। यहां खड़े डोंगों में रेत भरी मिली। एसडीएम ने रेत खाली करने को कहा। तभी एक रेत माफिया डोंगा ले जाने लगा। यह देख एसडीएम खुद डोंगे पर कूद पड़े। रेत माफिया डोंगे को नदी में ले गए। रेत माफिया ने एसडीएम को डुबाने की कोशिश की, लेकिन एसडीएम नदी में कूद पड़े। किनारे पर मौजूद गोताखोरों ने उन्हें बचाया। पथराव में एसडीएम, खनिज अधिकारी सहित अन्य अफसरों के वाहनों के कांच फूट गए।

WETLANDS & WATER BODIES

National Indiscriminate development & poor regulation wrecking havoc on India’s wetlands Wetlands in India play a pivotal role in people’s lives in different ways yet it has lost around 38% of wetlands in just two decades. According to scientist TV Ramachandra there has been a 92.5% increase in concrete area and a 79% fall in water bodies in Bengaluru and Ulsoor lake is the latest victim of encroachment and pollutions. In south Mumbai during the past few years, real estate rates have increased fourfold and precious wetlands have been covered up for development. Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP says that while wetlands in India are linked to survival however, 6 yrs after the Notification of Wetlands Rules 2010, there is no National Wetlands Authority functioning today and the Authority formed earlier has never met since Apr 2012. Others experts too say that existing rules are poorly enforced and since water and land are state subjects and the environment regulated by the Centre, wetlands often fall through the cracks.

Uttar Pradesh 100 hectares along Yamuna e-way to be protected as wetland The Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority on 16 March said that it will develop 100 hectares of marshland area as wetland and bird sanctuary. The authority’s decision comes after environment activists repeatedly demanded for protection of this marshland area, which is home to 198 species of birds including UP’s state bird the Sarus Crane. Activists welcomed the step however felt that mere declaring is not enough & Govt. should restrict construction activity in the periphery of wetlands. Also see, Dhanauri among 720 wetlands area in masterplan

West Bengal AOL accuses of damaging wetland AOL stands accused of raising a dazzling white building called the “Temple of Knowledge” on a slice of the ecologically fragile East Calcutta Wetlands, where new construction is banned under law. The towering structure, estimated to be 60ft tall, is like a giant pop-up that has changed the skyline behind the Urbana housing estate off the Bypass. It has already invited two stop-work notices from the East Calcutta Wetlands Management Authority. The organisation, which is the nodal body for conservation and maintenance of the wetland has slapped the two notices on Vaidic Dharma Sansthan Trust guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Karnataka Bengaluru’s Ulsoor Lake turns into fish graveyard Ulsoor Lake, a 50 hectare expanse of emerald green water in Bengaluru, where this spring, residents were greeted with the horrific sight of thousands of dead fish that had washed up on its shores early morning on 7 March. TV Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Ecological Sciences concurs that the depletion of dissolved oxygen in the water would have caused asphyxia in the fish. Bengaluru’s lakes, once admired for their unique, inter-connected design, which prevented flooding and recharged the groundwater, have of late been more in the news for its degradation.

WATER    

World Water Day Think livelihoods, not only jobs In a discussion on water and livelihoods, it will be unfair to not look at livelihoods destroyed by water resource projects. We see this destruction of livelihoods in nearly all large dams in the Himalayas to large irrigation projects in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. While several large dam projects are assessed and justified based on the employment they will generate, is there a fair assessment of livelihoods destroyed to reach there or a post facto analysis of livelihoods created? Besides the livelihoods that a river supports, maintaining the health of rivers, streams and groundwater also generates jobs. This is based on Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP interview to India Water Portal.

Centre पानी के इस्तेमाल पर केंद्र लाएगा कानून  केंद्रीयजल संसाधन एवं गंगा संरक्षण मंत्री उमा भारती ने कहा कि देश में मीठे पानी के भंडार को बर्बादी से रोकने के लिए केंद्र सरकार जल कानून बनाने का विचार कर रही है। जरूरत पड़ने पर एक्ट बनाया जाएगा, जिसमें यह तय होगा कि मीठा पानी सिर्फ पीने के काम आए। उद्योगों से निकलने वाले पानी को जीरो डिस्चार्ज कर उपयोग में लिया जाएगा, जबकि निर्माण कार्यों में उपचारित पानी और खेती में सीवरेज का पानी दिया जाएगा यानी हर काम के लिए पानी की प्रकृति तय हो जाएगी। जो भी गलत इस्तेमाल करेगा, उसे कानूनी कार्रवाई से गुजरना पड़ेगा। उमा भारती ने यह बात शुक्रवार को केंद्रीय भूमि जल बोर्ड की ओर से ‘विलुप्त जल प्रवाह मार्गों की सतत भूजल प्रदाय क्षमता’ विषय पर आयोजित वर्कशॉप का शुभारंभ करते हुए कही।

Maharashtra Hill stations need to learn art of water conservation Panchgani in Satara district of Maharashtra is a small hill town struggling to find water for its citizens. Tankers ply around busily ferrying expensive water from deeper and deeper tube-wells. As forests on catchments up in the hills are destroyed for development, springs down below dry up and the lifeline water of thousands of villages, livestock and wild animals becomes impossible to reach. Yet we no longer seem to understand that this is a crisis which we have ourselves created. If the hill stations have to prepare themselves for summer they have to prepare to harvest rain, especially from rooftops. The report also lauds the remarkable work done by a group called Gram Pari that helps villagers discuss & draw plans to manage the springs, forests and aquifers they depend on.

GROUND WATER

SANDRP Report Lack of regulations major reason behind water table depletion India is the world’s largest and fastest growing groundwater user. This, when combined with the lack of regulation of the sector and explosive growth in water-intensive crops such as rice and sugarcane, has meant plummeting water levels. Although most regulation and investment in India continues to circle around surface water and dams, it is groundwater that is the lifeline of the country, irrigating about 70 percent of agriculture and providing drinking water to over 80% of rural households. Recurring droughts and back-to-back monsoon failures, although devastating for a majority of the country’s population depending on agriculture, have also ushered in more awareness about the resource.

National Coca-Cola plans to sell all bottling plant in India Coca-Cola has let go of 65 employees at bottling unit through a voluntary retirement scheme even as it suspended operations at five plants citing flagging demand. This is possibly the largest number of employees that Coca-Cola has let go of in the country at any one given time, though the company did not confirm it. The company is also exploring options to sell the company-owned bottling business. in India at a valuation of $1 billion, and is in the process of initiating talks with large industrial houses for a potential deal.  Last month, Coca-Cola India halted production at these plants, just ahead of the peak season, attributing it to lack of demand. The plants are in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP and two in the Northeast. These range from small to mid-sized ones.

WATER OPTIONS    

SANDRP Blog Smart Urban Water options: Harvest rainwater, Protect water bodies Municipal water supply systems in India are struggling to meet the demands of the burgeoning population in cities. Rapid urbanisation is increasing the freshwater demand for different purposes. Ground water being used to meet water shortages has fallen to dangerously low levels. The solution to the urban water crisis lies in harvesting rainwater and reviving local water bodies and wetlands which can store the water and help replenish ground water. It is also imperative that water is used judiciously and leakages in the distribution system are plugged. In the second part to the blog SANDRP emphasis on  recycling of waste water  as smart water options. An estimated 62000MLD sewage is generated in urban areas across India, according to the Environment Minister, while there is treatment capacity for only 23,277 MLD as of Dec 2015. A CPCB report further reveals that the actual amount of sewage treated stands at 18,883 MLD as only 522 out of 816 sewage treatment plants listed across India were operational, as of March 2015 (even this claim of 81.1% capacity utilization seems HIGHLY exaggerated). Thus, at least 70% of sewage generated in urban India is being dumped in rivers, seas, lakes and wells, polluting water bodies and contaminating fresh water sources.

Karnataka Thousands join hands to construct makeshift check-dam across Kabani Thousands of villagers in Kerala and Karnataka joined hands to construct a makeshift check-dam across the Kabani river on the Kerala-Karnataka border on Thursday to tackle drought-like situation in the region. The Minor Irrigation Department had constructed a makeshift check-dam across the river at its Marakkadavu pumping station when the region experienced an acute shortage of drinking water three years ago. Apart from villagers, workers of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, members of Kudumbasree units, milk cooperatives, farmer and youth organisations, and volunteers of Red Cross took part in the endeavour. Impressive & very rare examples of team work done by villagers that too belonging to two different states Leaders in Punjab & Haryana may learn a lesson from it.

मध्य प्रदेश 5 हजार गांववालों ने खोदे गड्ढे, पहाड़ी पर रुकेगा 15 करोड़ लीटर पानी मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी इलाके झाबुआ में जलस्तर बढ़ाने के लिए 5 हजार ग्रामीणों ने श्रमदान किया। इन्होंने एक पहाड़ी के ढलान पर पानी रोकने के लिए दो-दो फीट गहरे और लंबे गड्‌ढे बनाए। पांच घंटे से ज्यादा वक्त चले इस अभियान के बाद पहाड़ी की तस्वीर ही बदल गई। इस अभियान से जुड़े विशेषज्ञों ने बताया कि गांव वालों द्वारा खोदे गए गड्‌ढों से इस इलाके में बारिश का 15 करोड़ पानी जमीन में उतारा जा सकेगा। इसतरह ग्रामीणों के लिए 53 दिनों का पानी संरक्षित होगा। शिवगंगा के जलसंरक्षण अभियान में शामिल होने के लिए दिल्ली-मुंबई और इंदौर से बड़ी तादाद में इंजीनियर, व्यापारी और डॉक्टर भी पहुंचे। Also see, जिस काम में आठ लाख रुपए खर्च होते, ग्रामीणों ने श्रमदान से कर डाला

DROUGHT 

SANDRP Blog Maharashtra Economic Survey 2015-16 Even as Maharashtra faces unprecedented drought, the State Economic Survey for 2015-16 and state budget for 2016-17 put up before the state assembly on March 18 are disappointing. Promise of credible Irrigation Data remains unfulfilled yet again Economic Survey Report of Maharashtra state for the year 2015-16 is out. For the Agriculture and allied activities sector, its findings are sad though not shocking. The sector has clocked negative growth rate of 2.7% and production of almost all Kharif and Rabi Crops has taken a hit following the second consecutive monsoon failure and 59.4% deficit.

Maharashtra Dams conspired to reduce Marathwada to rack & ruin  In this enlightening & revealing interview HM Desarda economist & former member of the Maharashtra State Planning Board speaks on multiple complex factors(dams, politicians, sugarcane etc.) leading up to the drought & how a focussed watershed development programme (rainwater harvesting, skillful management of monsoon, water conservation) and a radical restructuring of the employment guarantee scheme could be the key to mitigate agrarian distress levels. He doubts over success of Jalayukta as a great drought-proofing scheme & finds it as a most unscientific & arbitrary project which discounts sound hydrological principles & the scientific concept of ridge-to-valley.

According to news report Thane & Navi Mumbai are also staring at a growing crisis with weekly water cuts already imposed in these areas. The water stock available in the reservoirs is 1 lakh million litres lesser than the stock available at the same time last year. However the officials said that there is no plan to increase the water cut, and with the stock likely to be sufficient till June 15. In Navi Mumbai, there has been 30% water cut since Oct. 2015 & in Thane, there has been 30% water cut for the last 2 weeks.  A 50% water cut has been imposed on big industries & commercial establishments. Since Sep last year, the civic body stopped water supply to its swimming pools. Meanwhile one more news report says that Mumbai loses 650mld water due to evaporation from the 7 lakes and loses over 1,000 mld to leakages and unauthorized water connections, which is termed “non-revenue” water by the municipal corporation. On 17 March the total water quantum in the 7 lakes stood at 4,91,417 million litres; it was 5,89,510 million litres on the same day last year. On the other hand in a meeting on 14 March Pune Municipal Corporation has given a conditional approval to the state irrigation department to address the age old issue of leakages in the  leakages in the Mutha canal in 3days. The irrigation department had demanded 9 days in total to complete the work. The civic body has been taking 300 mld fom the canal to use as drinking water but  there are major leaks in the canal. This is a long-pending issue that has finally been addressed by the civic administration.

Drought-hit Latur invokes Sec 144 to check water riots Authorities in Maharashtra’s drought-hit Latur district have invoked Section 144 of CrPC to bar the assembly of more than five people around wells and water filling points and tanks to check violence over water amid an unprecedented scarcity. The order is probably the first of its kind in Maharashtra. Issued by the district’s collector, Pandurang Pol, the order will be in effect in areas around 20 places until 31 May.

Drought country faces worst year: Waiting for a drop before dawn Residents of the 8 districts that comprise Marathwada face an acute water crisis that is threatening to spiral out of control. Water storage in Marathwada’s reservoirs is now about 5%, a record low which despite drought last year was 20%. The situation is gravest in Beed and Osmanabad districts and in Latur city. In Beed, overall water availability in the large, medium and small dams was pegged at 2.13 per cent by February end. In Latur, where the administration is trying to stanch demand for water by ordering coaching classes to shut in order to push the 1 lakh-strong migrant student population back to their home villages and home districts, protesting villagers from around the Dongargaon dam had to face a police team after they refused to let tankers draw water for the city. Whether this water will last through the summer depends on fortune — ground water levels in Marathwada have witnessed an alarming dip. Also see, Water crisis deepens in North Mumbai: For a fee, tankers fill drums with locks

Stop supply of water to swimming pools, play dry Holi: Water Minister At a time when several parts of the state such as Marathwada, Vidarbha and western Maharashtra are reeling under severe water crisis, the Water Minister Girish Mahajan has written to all municipal corporations stating that swimming pools should not be supplied with water considering the severe water crisis, and that water tankers should not be provided for revelers and rain dance organisers during Holi. The municipal corporations of Thane and Pune have already implemented this in some form. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation too has imposed a 15% cut in water supply. Maharashtra is facing one of its worst water crisis with the Marathwada region being the most severely affected. The latest news report mentions that despite the clear instruction water sports activity in the district seems to be going on unchecked and unhindered in Pune as despite ban  on “rain dance”, several water parks are reported to be going ahead with the activity.

Karnataka State awaiting Maharashtra’s response on release of Krishna river waters It is about a week since the State government requested Maharashtra government to release 4 tmcft water from its reservoirs into the Krishna and the Bhima river course to mitigate acute water shortage in several villages in boundary areas of Northern Karnataka in the Krishna basin, but Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is yet to respond to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s letter. With the prevailing drought situation deteriorating and drinking water sources drying up in more villages with every passing day, Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jainsaid that he would speak to Secretary of the Maharashtra Chief Minister seeking early release of water.

Karnataka districts brace for water shortage Districts in Karnataka dependant on the Cauvery are likely to face an acute shortage of drinking water as the level in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS), near Srirangapatna, in Mandya district, dipped to 85.29 feet at 6a.m. on 19 March. The full-reservoir level of KRS is 124.8 ft. The dead storage level is 74 ft. According to senior officials of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd., the storage in the reservoir stood at just 13.31 tmcft as against its maximum capacity of 49.45 tmcft. The reservoir had 103 ft. of water on the corresponding day last year. The storage was 25.02 tmcft on March 19, 2015.

Thirsty days ahead as water levels plunge A severe drinking water crisis looms large on Bengaluru and many parts of the State as storage levels plummeted in major reservoirs of Cauvery and Krishna basins this month. Major reservoirs in the Cauvery and Krishna basins showed storage dipping well below last year’s levels. An indicator of the magnitude is that 137 taluks have been declared drought-hit this time, compared to 98 last year. One more news reports that the reservoirs across the State have plunged to half of their storage levels of last summer which highlights the water crisis across the districts. Each day, there is a growing panic among people, who are queuing up for water as piped water stops at homes; and among authorities as they scramble to find ways to provide drinking water to citizens. Another news reports that with rise in mercury drinking water woes are turning worse in Dharwad district. The condition in most of the villages is turning critical by the day as the available natural water sources are fast drying up. As the water crisis is expected to hit 204 villages in the Raichur district the administration has drawn a 3 fold strategy to deal with water crisis which is taking possession of private bore wells in case common ones are lying defunct. Drill more bore wells where ground water is available. Use tankers where both options are not workable. Administration to hold an officers’ meeting in each taluk once in every 15 days till the summer was over to explore means& ways to address the drinking water crisis. Panchayat development officers are asked to keep their mobile phones on & not to leave their headquarters without prior permission otherwise they will have to face the action. Gulbarga Electricity Company directed to mandatorily supply electricity to drinking water project round the clock.

AGRICULTURE

National Crops damaged in 6 states due to unseasonal rains Unseasonal rain and hailstorm in the past few days have damaged winter crops in parts of at least six states across central, north and western India. So far, damage to rabi crops like wheat, mustard and chickpea has been reported from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, MP & Maharashtra. The extent of damage is unclear as state governments are yet to collate data on crop loss and send it to the centre. At 86.53 mt, India’s wheat crop in 2015 was the lowest in 5 years after freak rains caused heavy damage just ahead of harvesting. Farmer distress continues to grow, with Rabi crop damaged in six states at least. Also see, Govt slams Assocham over wheat report 

A silent horticulture ‘revolution’ In the past one decade alone, horticultural output has surged by nearly 70% from around 167 million tonnes in 2004-05 to over 283 million tonnes in 2014-15. The acreage under horticulture has also grown by around 2% a year. Significantly, horticultural production has either continued to grow or dip only marginally even during bad monsoon years, including the drought years of 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2015. The overall share of horticulture in the agriculture sector’s GDP has grown to over 30% even though it accounts for only 17 % of farm land. The horticulture sector could have done even better but for several formidable constrains that have yet to be addressed.

ENERGY OPTIONS

Centre India’s growing Solar Energy capacity The total commissioned solar energy capacity as on 07 March 2016 is 5775.571mw out of which 4 States Rajasthan 1264mw , Gujarat 1024mw, Madhya Pradesh 678mw & Tamil Nadu 635mw are producing more than half the capacity. Explore the link to see State-wise details of total current commissioned capacity of solar energy in the country. Meanwhile  Piyush Goyal Union Power Minister on 17 March speaking on the launch of a report titled, “Scaling up Private Investment in Rooftop Solar” said that there is need to find ways for solar energy to become norm rather than exception. The minister reiterated that people can immensely be benefited from generating rooftop power particularly on industrial and commercial buildings. He further said that technological innovations will find solutions for significant problem associated with grid integration and help clean energy to become a very robust element in India’s power scenario.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan WAPDA holds pre-bidding meeting for Dasu hydropower project The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) held the first pre-bid meeting at WAPDA House on 14 March for main civil works of the Stage-I of Dasu Hydropower Project. Main civil works consist of MW-01 Dam and its appurtenant structures and MW-02 Underground Powerhouse and its appurtenant structures. The bid documents of these works were issued on 12 Feb 2016 to pre-qualified bidders for submission on 12 May 2016. Representatives of all the eight pre-qualified firms and joint ventures (4 contractors from Turkey, one each from China, Italy, Vietnam, and South Korea) attended the meeting. The Stage-1 of Dasu Hydropower Project is estimated to cost $4.3 billion.

Nepal Will China invest in Nepal’s hydropower plants? Nepal hopes to finally secure Chinese investment on major hydropower dams during the prime minister’s trip to Beijing next week, as well as key energy agreements There has been little discussion around the environmental and safety implications of these large projects since the earthquake. Here is an interactive map of existing and planned projects, including the latest projects under the government’s new plan to add 10,000 MW in 10 years.  There has been little discussion around the environmental and safety implications of these large projects since the earthquake. Here is an interactive map of existing and planned projects, including the latest projects under the government’s new plan to add 10,000 MW in 10 years.

PDA of Upper Karnali Hydel unveiled  The Investment Board of Nepal has unveiled the Power Development Agreement of one of the national pride projects of the country 900mw Upper Karnali hydro power project. The Project, located in Surkhet, Accham and Dailekh districts, is one of the largest hydel projects in the country with so far the biggest foreign investment.  The document has been made public at the directive of the National Information Commission following the application filed by Ratan Bhandari an hydropower expert on 03 Nov 2014. However the document was given to him only on 14 March 2016.  After reviewing the paper Bhandari argues that some of the provisions of the project costing NRS 140 billion were against the national interests of the country.

CHINA

No more hydro project on Nu but the fate of Salween is undecided According to Yunnan officials gathering in Beijing no new small-scale hydropower plants will be built on the Nu River to help restore the environment with the provincial party boss even talking about turning it into “China’s Grand Canyon”. But fate of the country’s last free-flowing river is still unclear as the officials remained tight-lipped on whether they would go ahead with plans to build a series of dams on the upper reaches of the Nu, known as the Salween River outside China and protected as a Unesco World Heritage site. The plans were shelved in 2005 by but were revived in 2013. Activists find the talks rather vogue and tricky as a national 5 year plan (2016-2020) for developing renewable energy still listed the Nu as a “hydropower base”.

REST OF ASIA

Facing Mekong drought, China to release water from Yunnan Dam China has promised to discharge water from a dam along the Lancang River (better known as the Mekong) to help alleviate drought conditions in Southeast Asia. With the Mekong’s health an increasing sources of worry, the countries downstream Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam have reason to be concerned about China’s hydropower plans. This is not specific to China, per se; Laos’ plan to build two new dams on the Mekong has similarly sparked criticisms from its downstream neighbours. But China has the longest history of dam-building, and has already faced specific criticisms for causing both droughts and floods as its new projects came online. China also has a history, however, of releasing extra water from its dams when water shortages downstream become dire.  

REST OF THE WORLD 

US European funders suspend support for Agua Zarca Dam Berta Cáceres’ murder has become a symbol for marginalized people & indigenous peoples around the world who have to pay for economic & social development projects.  In response to brazen murder FMO, the Dutch development financier & Finnfund, European financier decided to “suspend all activities in Honduras, effective immediately. According to FMO statement the company would not engage in new projects or commitments and that no disbursements will be made, Now the pressure is on the Central-American Bank for Economic Integration to suspend all support for Agua Zarca. If civil society networks keep up their pressure, the suspension of support by European funders must surely be the beginning of the end of the ill-fated and violent Agua Zarca Project. They will continue to closely monitor the Agua Zarca Project and its aftermath, to make sure that Berta’s sacrifice was not in vain. By Peter Bosshard International Rivers

Zimbabwe looks to the sun as drought hits hydropower Zimbabwe is pushing forward with plans to build four new solar power plants, amid a drought that has battered its ability to generate hydroelectricity. The Zimbabwe Power Company says feasibility studies and engineering procurement are underway for three solar projects at Gwanda, Insukamini and Munyati. Construction is expected to start this year, at a combined cost of $635 million. Each solar power plant will generate 100 MW. In October 2015 the government signed a deal with Intratrek Zimbabwe to construct the Gwanda solar project. Tenders to build solar power plants at Munyati & Insukamini have also been awarded and construction at a fourth solar power project in Marondera, about 70km east of the capital Harare, will start in Sep 2016.

Study Scientists question Dam building in the Amazon, Congo & Mekong The prestigious magazine Science published an assessment of the proposed hydropower dams on the Amazon, Congo and Mekong rivers. Conducted by scientists from 30 academic, government and conservation institutions in eight countries, the study concludes that dam builders “often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity and critically important fisheries. Based on numerous rigorous case studies, the new research confirms what International Rivers and other critics have been saying for years. The three rivers and their tributaries are currently facing an onslaught of about 450 proposed dams. Making matters worse, many of the proposed dams would be built in ecologically sensitive areas. This is equally applicable to dams in India and South Asia in most respects. Also see Hydropower in Amazon basin threatening 100s of rare species

Water shortage may cripple power supply In a report published yesterday based on the findings of over 140 experts internationally, the group calls for swift action to ensure resilient energy infrastructure. Based on last year’s U.N. projections of a 40 percent global shortfall of water availability by 2030, the report focuses on water’s crucial role in power generation. After agriculture, energy consumes the second largest amount of fresh water, and 98 percent of power produced requires water, the report found. As water-stressed areas see population growth and more economic activity their risks of not delivering enough energy and food also increase.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Global Surge in renewable energy stalls world greenhouse gas emissions  Falling coal use in China and the US and a worldwide shift towards renewable energy have kept greenhouse gas emissions level for a second year running, one of the world’s leading energy analysts has said. Preliminary data for 2015 from the International Energy Agency showed that carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector have levelled off at 32.1bn tonnes even as the global economy grew over 3%. There is definite surge towards solar & wind as renewable source of power and there is some pause in coal usage, and also the global green house gas emissions has not grown for the second year, but if former is the cause of the latter is less certain.

ENVIRONMENT

National South Korea to build sea wall in India The Korea Rural Community Corporation is expected to sign a design service contract with the Government of Gujarat in India next month. The contract worth 40 billion won is to build a sea wall for the Kalpasar Project in order to deal with the chronic shortage of water in the hinterlands of Mumbai. The breakwater construction alone is estimated to cost 12 trillion won and the size of the project can be expanded to US$20 billion when the transportation infrastructure, power plants and the like to be housed in the reclaimed land are taken into account. It is strange & scary. This project has no clearances, not even basic feasibility established and already contract being signed?

Madhya Pradesh Rio Tinto’s diamond mine up for green clearance The FAC is slated to appraise the Rs 2,200-crore diamond mine project of Rio Tinto in MP for forest clearance. Documents show that the project has reached all the way up for appraisal before the FAC despite several written reports by state forest officers and the regional office of the environment ministry that the area falls in an identified tiger movement corridor which the state has not legally notified as such while prospecting for diamond continued.  The officers have also gone on record to state that the forest is of very good quality and that at least one of the villages has explicitly refused consent which is mandatory under the Forest Rights Act.

Telangana Bulldozing public hearing on Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant The Human Rights Forum (HRF) takes strong exception to the manner in which the environmental public hearing was held on 17th March for the proposed 1080MW Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant near Manuguru in Khammam district. In fact, this is a project that is mired in serious illegalities. In open contempt of environmental law, the project proponents had taken up construction activity without the mandatory statutory clearances. The HRF brought this to the notice of the NGT which ordered that all construction activity be stopped. The project proponent disregarded this order and in open contempt went ahead with the construction. The EIA report in English which runs into 702 pages has not been made available in Telugu in a comprehensive form to the local people.

UP & MP Former Chamabal dacoits gather in Jaipur to protect vanishing forests On the eve of International Day of Forests, erstwhile bandits who once ruled over Chambal gathered in Jaipur to tell the government that they wish to protect their land as they fear the jungle they dearly love is slowly dying. They also expressed concerns over govt. plans to flatten the ravines to turn them into farmlands. Many bandits alleged that under the watch of certain politicians, trees are being cut rampantly and illegal sand mining is being carried out. The dacoits also wished to carry out large plantation programmed is demarcated land is given to them by the Govt. The former dacoits were brought together by RSS swayamsewak Vishnu Lamba of Shree Kalptaru Sansthan. Also see, the forest map of India to find out which State presently has largest forest cover.

You may also like to visit DRP News Bulletin 14 March 2016 & DRP New Bulletin 07 March 2016

3 Comments on “DRP News Bulletin 21 March 2016 (‘Towards Noyyal’ A people’s initiative to restore a river’s glory)

  1. Haryana is a riparian state ( also Chandigarh ) of Sutlej / Indus river basin as the north western area of Panchakula district in Haryana is drained by streams which are joining Sutlej river in Punjab. It is immaterial how big area of a state / country is part of a river basin for a riparian state to claim its full water needs subject to other water resources availability in a state as per Helsinki international water law / equitable water allocation principles. Refer links ..https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_River#Interstate_water_dispute and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Helsinki_Rules_on_the_Uses_of_the_Waters_of_International_Rivers for more data. Area of the river basin criteria is one out 10 issues to be considered while finalising the water allocations.

    Though Rajasthan is not riparian state of Indus basin, it is getting water due to other technical reason. 100% water available in a river basin can not be utilised as the dissolved salts in the water would build up making available water quality unfit for agriculture due to high salinity and alkalinity. Suppose Punjab is using all the waters and not letting any water to downstream Pakistan or Rajasthan, the ground water and river water would be of high salinity and alkalinity which is unfit for irrigation. Under Indus water treaty, all the waters of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej available in India are allocated for use by India. Instead of sending water to Pakistan (at least 20% of primary water available in the river basin to prevent basin closer), Punjab is sending water to Rajastan Nahar Project located outside the river basin in order to keep the water quality deterioration in acceptable limits in its territory. Refer link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_River_Water_Disputes_Act for more data.

    Few decades back water logging (high water table) was major problem in Punjab but now it is depletion of ground water table and water salinity are major problems. In fact, Punjab is over exploiting the ground water drawing ground water from the adjacent Pakistan area ( where saline water logging is major problem) and sending more salt load in to Rajasthan state.

    Pakistan is facing severe saline water logging problem as it has harnessed all the water available in the Indus river. Basin closer of Indus river has occurred as Indus river water is not joining the sea except during severe floods. To mitigate salinity problem in Pakisthan, 500 km long Left Bank Drain Outfall Drain (LBOD) is constructed to divert the saline irrigation drain water not to join the downstream river and to join the sea via Ran of Kutch. Similarly Right Bank Drain Outfall Drain (RBOD) is constructed to route the saline water generated on the right bank side area of the Indus river in Pakistan. Strictly speaking Gujarat state is also last riparian state of Indus river basin as the Indus flood water is passing through Ran of Kutch. Refer link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rann_of_Kutch for more data.

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