DRP News Bulletin 08 August 2016 (Aug 06, ILR meeting is no dialogue)

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SANDRP BLOG Aug 06, ILR meeting is no dialogue  While dialogue is necessary and welcome in any democracy, the meeting that was organized on Aug 06 at Constitutional Club is certainly not the right step in almost every sense. We hope MoWR and those who gather at the constitution club today will deliberate on these issues and resolve to correct them before a dialogue can really begin on the issue of ILR, and in fact Rivers. SANDRP coordinator was invited at this meeting on ILR being held at Constitution Club at 4 pm today as a speaker, but have decided to decline the invite, as elaborated in the note here. Please help us spread the word. Feedback is welcome.  As was expected, Minister Uma Bharti reiterated that the Ken Betwa Link project will be implemented, even though the project has none of the clearances as yet! The reporter should have mentioned that. 

Toi 01 Aug

GURGAON WATERLOGGING

Millennium City: Minimal planning, maximum chaos Gurgaon had no natural drainage and very poor water resources, thereby making it unfit for any major city development, particularly “high-rise-high-density”. Most of the HUDA sectors have been carved out of acquiring village land. Each village used to have a big pond which served as a receptor of excess water with disappearance of these water bodies and disregard to the natural slope of the area storm water management has become difficult. The traditional and natural nullahs and streams have either been sold or encroached and big projects or unauthorized structures have come up on them to meet the ever increasing housing demand.  In the mad pursuit to become a “Global City”, no thought was spared for water resources and drainage. The most prominent victim of blind urbanization is Ghata lake which was once spread across 370 acres but now has been reduced to just around 2 acres -due to which rainwater that used to get collected in the catchment area of this lake now flows over causing waterlogging. However, the lake is just one microcosm of what happened in Gurgaon. As per a recent report, Gurgaon had 388 water bodies, out of which only a handful like Basai lake, Sultanpur lake and Dumdama lake are left. Irony is that the state govt is even aware of this situation and its dangerous impact on the city.

Reports also revealed a dismal picture of encroachment & dumping of all sort of waste in  Badshahpur drain blocking its flow. The Badshapur drain, a 28km channel that runs from Ghata to Najafgarh drain, is the only carrier of storm water out of the city. The designed capacity of the drain is 1750 cusec which has been reduced to 500 cusec due to encroachment. According to reports Badshapur drain’s bed level is 1-1.5 meters higher than the invert level of its newly built drain. The Hero Honda Chowk is at a lower gradient than adjoining areas, which is why it was the worst affected in crisis. NHAI reportedly has constructed about a 1km-long drain between Hero Honda Chowk and Kherki Daula to flush out rainwater in Badshapur drain. But Huda is yet to construct the drain at the proper level. On the contrary HUDA engineers also detected a mismatch in levels of the NHAI drain. According forest department, MCG’s plan to build 250 rain water pit structures came too late and was not possible to complete before the monsoon. The failure to build these pits ensured water flowed unabated from Ghata to Badshahpur.

Because of these several reasons drainage systems are unable to cope with the increased volume of water. It is also encroached or built upon, thus blocking the free-flow of water. All this has led to making a just about 10 mm of rains into a deluge. On the other hand Gurgaon has almost no water left to drink. A decade ago, it was declared a “dark zone” by the Central Groundwater Authority, which warned that if people did not stop extracting water, Gurgaon would have none left by 2017. Huda has constructed around 300 rainwater harvesting pits in 2013 to overcome the problem of depleting groundwater level and waterlogging in the city. However, more than 60% of the pits have been non-functional since their construction owing to engineering faults.

Amid the crisis, some societies have tackled water logging with rain water harvesting. Nirvana Country, Gurgaon One & Beverly Park-II have saved nearly about 2 lakh liters of rainwater. These societies were successful in preventing waterlogging. Similarly environmentalists have raised concerns against plan to dig artificial lake in Sector 72A and urge it to stop concretizing drains to better equip the city in dealing with heavy rain. They suggests that the focus should be on restoring the natural drainage system. Experts also urge planners to look beyond short term solutions claiming that Gurgaon drainage network collapsed because of faulty urban planning. Meanwhile Govt has granted 1000cr to solve the problem of the overflowing Badshahpur drain. According to TL Satyaprakash deputy commissioner the corporation has outlined a possible plan with short, mid and long-term goals, a part of which is expected to be completed by Dec. The long-term plan includes involving agencies concerned with waterlogging, drainage, sewers and storm water management to correct the issue.

FLOOD 2016 

Assam Brahmaputra’s trail of destruction has become annual ritual Notable excerpts from the report. Last week, Sonowal also asked the water resource department to set up ‘embankment protection committees’ of departmental engineers, youth organisations, NGOs, clubs and socio-cultural organisations to keep an eye on the embankments and help avert breaches.

* According to the Brahmaputra Board, deforestation in Assam and its neighbouring states have accelerated the process of land erosion. According to the Forest Survey of India Report 2015, Arunachal Pradesh’s forest cover has reduced by 162 sq km between 2011 and 2015, Assam has lost 48 sq km of forest cover in the same period, Meghalaya 71 sq km, and Nagaland 78 sq km.

*Experts say the above normal rainfall in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is not the only reason for the floods; environmental degradation in neighbouring hill states is part of the problem.

*Landslides and increasing topsoil erosion in the river’s catchment areas, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh from where come down most of the Brahmaputra’s major tributaries, have added to the river’s sediments.

* Chandan Mahanta of IIT Guwahati agrees that rejuvenating the state’s 3,500 wetlands is a “brilliant” concept. “We have numerous wetlands which can take off a major portion of the Brahmaputra’s energy during high floods,” says Mahanta.

* PROBLEMATIC PROPOSITION 1 -The Assam government, meanwhile, has asked experts to study if the main channel of the Brahmaputra can be dredged. One such attempt made in the late 1970s remained a non-starter though two dredgers were brought in from abroad.

* PROBLEMATIC PROPOSITION 2: -Constructing reservoirs to hold the water during the monsoons is one way of reducing floods.

* While successive governments have failed to come up with a solution to the state’s recurring floods, Pratima Boro believes she has found a way out. “We will have to simply learn to live with it,” says the 67-year-old, sitting outside a shed along the Guwahati-Morigaon state highway that has been her home for over 10 days.

Worst flood in decade takes toll on Kaziranga The Mobile Veterinary Service teams have handled 107 rescue cases in 7 days. The teams have also attended to 10 flood-hit Asian one-horned rhinoceros, out of which one died before it could be brought to the rescue centre. The sudden influx of rescued animals, especially the large number of rhino calves, has stretched the centre’s resources to the limit.  According to Suvasish Das DFO Kaziranga National Park (KNP) 310 animals, including 221 hog deer and 21 one-horned rhinos lost their lives due to devastating floods since July 25 this year. Das said 106 animals were rescued during the floods with help from local residents.

W-Bengal 31 villages submerged, 22000 affected in Malda Besides this, the swollen Ganga breached a 2-km stretch of an embankment at Birnagar near Farakka Barrage leading to repair work on war footing. Harishchandrapur block 2, Ratua block 1 and Kaliachak block 1 were the most hit by floods and erosion, ADM, Land Reforms, Malda, Kanchan Chowdhury told a press conference. At least 1000 families were affected by erosion of the Ganga in Kaliachak 3 block. 

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Himachal Incessant rain crippled normal life in several parts of the stateon Aug 02. Landslides occurred at 150 places. Over 100 roads, including links roads, were closed due to landslides in the interiors areas of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur, Hamirpur and Kangra districts. The rain-related incidents have claimed 22 lives from June 15 to July 31, while the loss to property is estimated at Rs 203.29 cr. The monsoon rain deficit during June and July is still 25%. Now Dharamsala, which received 194.4 mm of rain, was the wettest in the state followed by Nahan 144.8 mm, Renuka 100 mm. Landslides occurred at six places in Shimla town, disrupting vehicular traffic. 3 bailey bridges were damaged in the Sumagh area of Rampur in the district and chunks of land were eroded while a four-storey under-construction house collapsed on the Mehli-Junga road in the suburbs of the state capital. The foundation of a house slid due to heavy rain in Lower Kaithu but no loss of life was reported. Three shops were damaged and three persons received minor injuries when a tree fell on them near Lakkar Bazaar in Shimla.

Maharashtra Overflowing lakes cause panic in villagers There are at least 44 villages around Mumbai which are worried about overflowing dams and rivers and consequentially flood these areas. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s water department has written to Tehsildars of Wada, Shahpur, Bhiwandi, Vasai and surrounding areas on Aug 01 with a note of caution that if the lakes overflowed and the levels in the rivers rise in next 24 to 48 hours, there is a possible threat of flooding in the villages. On the other hand, 3 days of incessant rains Nashik is on high alert. Following the heavy downpour on Aug 02, 21,000 cusecs water was released from the Gangapur dam in the Godavari river, while 20,200 cusecs water was released from the Darna dam in the Darna river, officials from the Irrigation department said. In addition, 35,928 cusecs water was released from the Palkhed dam in Kadava river, causing the Godavari, Darna and Kadava rivers to flood. Similarly flood alert was sounded in Pune also due to incessant rain which forced the irrigation department to release water from an overflowing Khadakwasla dam on Aug. 03. Officials have not ruled out the possibility of more water being released. Water level in the Khadakwasla dam increased 66% to 86% by and reached 99% in two hours on Aug. 03. Continuous addition of water in dam forced irrigation officials to discharge water from the dam. The discharge of water was gradual to give people time to evacuate from 16,000 cusec at 10am to 31,450 cusec at 4 pm.  However, four cars and a few two-wheelers were found stuck in the river bed in the evening. According to news report Morbe & Barvi dams area has got record rainfall.The dam was trailing with a low 403 mm rainfall in June, jumped July end getting the highest rainfall since 2012 in the last 5 years. Barvi dam catchment area got third highest rain during the month. The dam got 1212 mm compared to 681 mm 78% more rainfall during the month than last year.

Op-Ed Monsoon rains thoroughly exposes  smart cities dream Urban centres like Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Mumbai are supposed to epitomise development and progress. That they should crumble under monsoon showers highlights shoddy urban planning, poor regulatory framework and utter administrative mismanagement. Indians deserve better cities. Good to see this critical media attention on flopped and unsmart Urban water management including in Gurgaon, Bengaluru & Mumbai. One hopes that the attention persists and is not temporary only during floods.

National Extent of Damage (cumulative figures)

States Date

updated

Population affected

 

Human Died Dists  affected Villages affected Cattle died Cropped

area affected

(in ha)

Estimated damage

(Rs. In lakh)

Arunachal 03 Aug 38 07 15671
Assam 04 Aug 285095 10 386 12798.41
Bihar 05 Aug 33.0 Lakh 89 14 2361 02 1.64 20260.30
Gujarat 05 Aug 11885 40 168
MP 04 Aug 379145 65 24 622 318
Maharashtra 05 Aug 50 06 43
Meghalaya 04 Aug 123444 4 1 151
Odisha 04 Aug 01 2
UP 04 Aug 862139 31 20 1123 12 140976.64
Uttarakhand 05 Aug 62 13 9 664
Total 1661708 380 97 4652 16878 153776.69 20260.3

 

 

Op-Ed Planning key to manage flooding It is the increased incidence of urban flooding that exposes the absence of planning resulting in maldevelopment. Excess rains are a problem in part because cities and towns are paved, hindering the natural flow of water. This problem is exacerbated by building towns without taking natural hydrology of the area into account. Developments have been allowed without any regard for the carrying capacity, and without the requisite infrastructure of sewage, drainage and roads. Town planners have to be taken seriously. The incidence of extreme rainfall events is expected to increase with climate change. As the pace of urbanisation picks up, the country needs to build cities and towns that are resilient.

Op-Ed Adopt the watershed approach to prevent flooding Shresth Tayal & Swati Singh Adopting a watershed approach to micro-level planning in a city reduces its dependence on imported natural resources like water from outside the city limits, and also mitigates the risks of extreme weather events. While increasing the potential for water conservation options like rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge, it is useful in efficient drainage and storm water management. It is more important to incorporate the watershed approach within city development plans itself, especially in siting of residential colonies and other facilities. This will increase the availability of water for residential areas while reducing energy consumption in transporting water to upstream locations. It will also lead to reduction in financial expenditure for laying the pipelines.

Op-Ed Flooding in cities a result of ignored hydrology There is no evidence that it rains more now than it used to half-a-decade ago. By blaming urban floods, or water-logging, on the weather gods, city administrators have been overlooking poor planning and the neglect of natural drainage. When real estate activity blocks the path of water, the city roads get waterlogged. Stormwater drains cannot take the burden of the water that once used to seep into the ground. Moreover, cities do not make the distinction between stormwater drains and sewage disposal outlets. While our urban planners issue homilies about environmentally-sensitive planning, it is time they also pay regard to urban hydrology.

Op-Ed Co-ordination by Centre needed to mitigate flood impact The important point to note is that many of the measures needed to contain floods are more or less similar to those for mitigating droughts, though the action in this case has to take place in the catchment areas of water channels. These include developing and conserving forests as well as grass cover and constructing check dams or diversion channels to prevent water flows and generation of silts. Moreover, the much-needed flood forecasting system, though technically in place, has hardly proved it utility. Warning issued by this system is made available to slow civic administrations & not to the affected people.

MONSOON 2016 

C 07

National Several States still record deficit rainfall Rainfall distribution showed a deficit in Gujarat of around 73%. Within meteorological subdivisions, the highest deficit was in Anand of around 93%, while Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Kheda and Narmada recorded rainfall deficit of nearly 90% each. In Saurashtra and Kutch region, the deficit was highest for Kutch at 98%, while all other regions showed deficit rainfall of more than 50% barring Bhavnagar. Several states like Kerala, Jharkhand, Himachal & Odisha are also witnessing deficient rains. While rainfall deficit is as high as 39%-49% in Gujarat, it is 19% in Odisha and 21% in Jharkhand. These three states had declared a drought due to sub-par rains in 2015.

IMD August will see 4% more than normal rainfall  According IMD monsoon is going to be above normal in the second half at 107% of the long-period average, with an error margin of 8%. If this forecast comes true, this will the highest monsoon rainfall in India in 25 years. India got around 43.5 cm of rainfall in last 2 months of the four-month monsoon season that started from June. Currently, the deficit since the rainy season started in June stands at zero. However, some of the global models suggest the development of weak La Niña conditions in the later part of the season. The average rainfall in 50 years during the four-month monsoon season is estimated to be 89 cm.

Record rainfall in Delhi & Mumbai Palam Observatory in Capital recorded 144 mm of rainfall in the span of 24 hours  on July 29 breaking a 10-year-old record. Out of this, 80 mm of rainfall was recorded in a span of mere three hours. The ripple effects of heavy rain were seen across the city as traffic movement was disrupted due to waterlogging. Mumbai has also recorded 925.6 mm of rain against its monthly average of 799.7 mm gilding past its monthly rains in July. 

DAMS 

MP Jha commission debunks govt claims of no irregularities The commission has found that there has been discrimination in disbursement of ‘special rehabilitation package’. Some of the villagers got Rs 760882 & many of them were given Rs 558000. More than 90% fake registries were found in Alirajpur, Bagli and Dewas and many in Khargone also. The commission also observed that rehabilitation sites are of substandard quality as compared to expenditure incurred by the state govt. It has also probed the corruption or irregularities in livelihood grants and alternative livelihood, house plot allotment & re-allotment at the rehabilitation sites, payment of compensation and grants to the ineligible person. Justice Jha here narrates the difficulties the commission faced as MP state govt put all kinds of obstacles in its path.

Himachal Release Rs450cr to Himachal for Renuka Dam in a week: SC The order came after Himachal threatened to pull out of the project saying the Centre had not released money to pay compensation to land owners despite declaring Renukaji Dam as a national project. As per the affidavit of the Central Water Commission, clearances for relief and rehabilitation, environment and forest stage-I have been obtained. The court said stage-II forest clearance could only be obtained if Rs 1090cr was deposited. It’s a very strange decision by SC to order centre to release funds for Renuka dam. Renuka dam is meant for Delhi water supply and Delhi govt has repeatedly said that it does not need water from the dam. The project also does not have all the clearances. For Example, here is a news report that makes it clear why Delhi does not need more water from outside. 

Polavaram Row More delay likely for Polavaram project The long-pending Polavaram project across the river Godavari will be delayed further as the one year exemption granted to Andhra on environment clearance came to an end last month. The AP govt has not sought extension of the exemption and the Centre is under immense pressure from the upper riparian states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh not to grant further concession to Andhra. On the other hand, on July 24 National Commission of Scheduled Tribe held a meeting with senior officials from Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Andhra on issues relating to displacement of tribals and other local people in Andhra. While taking note of the fact that the matter is subjudice before Supreme Court due to suit filed by Odisha Govt in Oct 2007, the commission has advised Andhra Govt to take into account the concerns/issues of Odisha and Chhattisgarh States.  Meanwhile Polavaram Right Main Canal  suffers breach again at the Ramileru rivulet under tunnel near Pallerlamudi in Nuzvid mandal of Krishna district forcing the irrigation authorities to switch off pumping of water from the Godavari into the Prakasam Barrage under the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme. In Sep. last year too, the project received a big jolt within hours after launching the motors as the same  canal developed massive leaks at Janampet village where Tammileru river crosses the canal. The leakage was so massive that the Pattiseema pump & Godavari Krishna water transfer have been stopped so that the damaged canal can be repaired.

National List of 16 projects declared as National Project The Water Ministry on Aug. 04 has informed the Lok Sabha that as per information available, 17 more project proposals have been received for inclusion under the scheme of National Projects. However, these proposals were not in the prescribed format, or did not qualify to be included under the scheme of National Project as per the guidelines.  Some of these projects were later proposed for funding from other agencies. Kindly explore the link to see State & Project–wise status of the National Project.

Sl.

No

State/ Name

of the Project

Latest Estimated Cost of the Project

(Rs. in cr.)

Central Assistance Released under scheme of National Project

(Rsin Cr.)

1)      Irrigation (ha.)

 

2)      Power (MW)

 

3) Storage (MAF)

Remarks
1. Kulsi Dam Project

(Assam)

 

1139.27

(PL 2014)

Nil 1)  20,500 ha.

2)  55 MW

3)  0.28 MAF

Appraisal stage
2 Polavaram Project

(Andhra )

 

10,151.04

(PL 2005-06)

Revised cost – 16010.45

(PL 2010-11)

Before N.P.-562.47

 

After N.P.:-

2014-15 = 250

2015-16 = 600

Total    850

1) 4.68Lakh

2) 960 MW

3) 23.44 TMC of water to Vizag city for drinking and industrial purpose and Diversion of 84.70 TMC to Krishna basin

Ongoing
3. Noa-Dihing Dam Project (Arunachal ) 1086.06

(PL 2013)

Nil 1)  3605 ha.

2)  71 MW

3)  0.26 MAF

Appraisal stage
4. Upper Siang Project (Arunachal)  

Nil 1) Indirect

2) 9500 MW

3) 1.44 MAF

4) Flood moderation

Pre-Feasibility Report (PFR) Stage
5 Renuka Dam Project(Himachal) 5242.89

(PL 2015)

Nil 1)  Drinking water

2)  40 MW

3)  0.404 MAF

Appraisal stage

 

6. Gyspa HE Project (Himachal Pradesh)  

Nil 1)  0.50 lakh ha

2)  300 MW

3)  0.74 MAF

Detailed Project Report (DPR) Stage
7. Kishau Multipurpose Project (Himachal / Uttarakhand) 7193.24

(PL 2010)

Nil 1)  0.97 Lakh

2)  660 MW

3)  1.04 MAF

Appraisal stage

 

8 Ujh Multipurpose project (J&K) 3630.73

(PL 2013)

Nil 1)  0.32 lakh

2)  212 MW

3)  0.82 MAF

Appraisal stage

 

9. Bursar HE Project (J&K)  

Nil 1)  1 lakh (indirect)

2)  1230 MW

3)  1 MAF

DPR Stage
10. Gosikhurd Irrigation Project (Maharashtra)

 

 

7777.85

(PL 2007-08);

2008-09 = 450

2009-10 = 720

2010-11 =1412.94

2012-13 =405

Total = 2987.94.

1)  2.50 lakh

2)   3 MW

3)   0.93 MAF

Ongoing
11. Ken Betwa Link Project Phase-I (Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh)  

18057.08

(PL 2015-16)

 

Nil 1) 6.35 lakh

2) 78 MW

3)2.18 MAF

Appraisal stage

 

12. Shahpurkandi Dam Project (Punjab)

 

2285.81

(PL 04/08)

2009-10 = 10.80

2010-11 =15.236

Total = 26.036

1)  0.37 lakh

2)  168 MW

3)  0.012MAF

Ongoing
13. 2nd Ravi Vyas Link Project (Punjab)

 

 

Nil Harness water flowing across border (about 0.58 MAF in non-monsoon period) PFR Stage
14. SaryuNaharPariyojna(Uttar Pradesh)

 

.

 

7270.32

(PL 2008-09)

2012-13=67.98

2013-14= 380.75

2014-15=210.85

2015-16 = 500

Total =1159.58

1) 14.04(NP Component:4.73)

2) –

3) Barrage

Ongoing
15.. Lakhwar Multipurpose Project (Uttarakhand)

 

 

3966.51

(PL 2012)

Nil 1) 33,780 lakh.

2) 300 MW

3) 0.267 MAF

Appraisal stage
16. Teesta Barrage Project (West Bengal)

 

 

2988.61

(PL 2008)

2010-11=81

2011-12= 97.20

Total = 178.20

1)  9.23 lakh (NP component:5.27)

2)  1000 MW

3)  Barrage

Ongoing

NBA PR Its just Aug 6 and already most big dams on Narmada are full including Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar, Tawa, Bargi and now Sardar Sarovar in day. So the Narmada Valley must brace for the floods rest of the monsoon. The MP Govt has declared alert in the region downstream of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Dam, including at Rajghat, Badwani where hundreds of Sardar Sarovar affected people are on Satyagraha since July 30th, 2016. This is because 8 gates of Indira Sagar and 5 gates of Omkareshwar Dam are opened since yesterday when the water column at each is raised to 191 meters and 260.4 meters respectively. According to another media report Sardar Sarovar Dam has started overflowing at Kevadia in Gujarat’s Narmada district, following the release of water from Omkareshwar dam in neighbouring MP. Currently, six main power-generating turbines of the Sardar Sarovar dam have become operational and are producing electricity at its full capacity. 

Maharashtra Repair work at 400 dams in Pune to start soon Of the 1,231 major dams, nearly 400 have been shown with major or rectifiable deficiencies. Temghar Dam in Pune district was also listed in Grade-II category, which according to irrigation officials, was of medium hazardous category and rectifiable. The survey, besides Temghar Dam, had listed Ambeghar and Kudki Dams in Konkan’s Raigad and Nignur in Yavatmal as highly hazardous or in Grade-I category. Besides being listed in the dam safety audit, Temghar, Gunjavani and Nira Deoghar dams have not got the technical “completion construction process”. Just a building gets a completion certificate, the dams get the clearance and incidentally, Temghar had not got the clearance as there was work to be completed.

National List of 16 projects declared as National Project The Water Ministry on Aug. 04 has informed the Lok Sabha that as per information available, 17 more project proposals have been received for inclusion under the scheme of National Projects. However, these proposals were not in the prescribed format, or did not qualify to be included under the scheme of National Project as per the guidelines.  Some of these projects were later proposed for funding from other agencies. Here is State & Project–wise status of the National Project.

Kerala Mahad tragedy has lessons for Mullaperiyar dam The Mahad bridge’s ollapse in its 88th year builds the case for replacement of 121-year-old Mullaperiyar dam as the Mahad bridge was built with the same material used in Mullaperiyar dam. The tragedy reinforces the argument to build a new dam on the border with Tamil Nadu to replace the 121-year-old dam. The dam had become a threatening structure 82 years after its construction. Reports from institutions, including the IIT, have said that the dam could be vulnerable if water overflows in the monsoon, similar to what had happened in Mahad. 

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Karnataka Despite good rainfall, dam levels dip The State is currently witnessing just 6% deficit considered normal otherwise but Malnad region is seeing nearly 25% lesser rain. Important catchment districts of Shivammaogga, Chikkamagalur and Kodagu are facing 34 to 45% deficit. This is significant considering that most of the State’s big rivers and dams are fed by the rains falling in the Western Ghats area. As a result, water levels in reservoirs on Cauvery, Tungabhadra and Kali have fallen compared to even last year, which was a drought year.

INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES 

SANDRP Blog Mahadayi Water Disputes: Trouble brewing in Paradise People from Dakshin Kannada, affected by Yettinahole Diversion Project did not support the Karnataka Bandh against Mahadayi decision. They say, Goa at least has a Tribunal to protest mindless water transfer, what can we do? Dinesh Holla, leading the Yettinahole Struggle says that just like them, Goa is at the receiving end of a politically motivated scheme. Are the protestors burning government buses & offices and pelting stones on shops aware of the basic facts of the case? Has the Karnataka govt tried to share the order of the Tribunal with its people? Are the protests based on facts, or only on political rhetoric? Does the state or the protestors think that Mahadayi water is the one and only solution to their problems? 

Kerala  & Tamil Nadu Setback to Attappady irrigation project The ongoing efforts of the State govt to revive a four-decade-old irrigation project with huge environmental implications in the Attappady region have suffered a setback with Union Environment Ministry rejecting the State’s argument that environmental clearance can be given to the project proposed across Siruvani River, a feeder of the east-flowing Bhavani, without seeking the opinion of neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Even in Kerala, the project is facing resistance owing to the huge costs involved and ecological concerns. Green activists say the project required devastation of large swathes of forestland apart from eviction of over 300 tribal families from the Vengakadavu, Mundukulam and Kottamala settlements.

Odisha & Chhattisgarh No study done to asses impact of barrages on Mahanadi There are two major projects in Chhattisgarh portion of Mahanadi basin at appraisal stage in CWC, out of which one project viz. Arpa Bhaisajhar Project is a Barrage project. It also says that no specific study to assess the impact on available water in river Mahanadi in Odisha after construction of projects in upstream has been carried out. Water ministry also on July 29 this year held an Inter-State meeting to consider the various water resources issues/projects in Mahanadi Basin. On the other hand, intensifying stir against Chhattisgarh’s construction of projects, Odisha’s ruling BJD on said that its workers would stop goods trains to the neighbouring State for half-an-hour on Aug 03. The BJD supporters would also stage a relay hunger strike in front of the CWC office here protesting the central body not consulting Odisha before clearing projects for Chhattisgarh.

INTER-LINKING OF RIVERS 

SAM_6979-80a--Kampot, Cambodia--12082013

Study Surplus river basins face drop in rainfall A study carried out by a team of researchers from IIT Madras and IIT Bombay has found a decrease in spatial variability of mean monsoon rainfall over major river basins in India. While there is a statistically significant decrease in the monsoon rainfall over major water surplus river basins, there is no statistically significant increase in monsoon rainfall over major water deficit river basins. The decrease in water yield in recent periods in major surplus basins has been more than 10% in the case of Mahanadi and West Flow River-I. In the case of other surplus basins, the decrease has been within 10%. According to study Ganga, which is a major water deficit basin, has seen significant increase in rainfall, while Yamuna, Krishna and Cauvery river basins exhibit a decrease.

IRRIGATION 

Centre Modernization of water bodies Informing the Lok Sabha on Aug. 04 the water ministry has stated that as per 4th Minor Irrigation Census, the total number of water bodies for minor irrigation in the country was 523816 in 2006-07, of which 443688 were in use and 80128 were not in use. A pilot scheme for “Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies directly linked to Agriculture” was launched in Jan 2005 for implementation during the remaining period of X Plan. Water Ministry has launched a State Sector Scheme for RRR of water bodies for implementation during XI Plan. The scheme of RRR of Water Bodies has been continued in XII Plan also. State wise Details of Central Assistance (CA) released during XII Plan under RRR of Water Bodies Scheme

SN State CA released (in crore)
During

XI Plan

XII Plan (2012-17) Up to March 2016
12-13 13-14 14-15 15-16
1 Andhra 66.105 66.11
2 Bihar 25.00 27.54 52.54
3 Chhatishgarh 34.68 37.97 72.65
4 Gujarat 10.610 10.61
Haryana 7.040 2.52 9.56
5 Karnataka 199.02 199.02
6 MP 9.95 37.70 47.65
7 Maharashtra 80.35 80.53
8 Manipur 0.00 10.37 10.37
9 Meghalaya 2.42 2.52 4.94
10 Odisha 217.45 79.90 54.75 352.10
11 Rajasthan 7.07 35.93 43.00
12 Tamil Nadu 0.00 9.22 9.22
13 Telengana 122.895 44.88 167.77
14 UP 29.08 10.38 16.41 55.87
Total 811.850 40.44 37.97 130.49 161.18 1181.928

Maharashtra Arun Jaitley likely to clear Rs 9500cr for irrigation projects Preliminary discussions at the level of finance ministry have indicated the projects confined to the worst-hit districts would be given greater priority in terms of allocation of funds. The state govt has submitted 132 irrigation projects in drought and suicide-prone districts. It has sought Rs 4098cr for 98 projects in Vidarbha & Rs 3090cr for 34 projects in Marathwada. Together the majority of these projects are confined to 14 districts that are worst affected by drought in Vidarbha and Marathwada. Another Rs 2000cr added component for small and medium water conservation projects in the 14 districts which could be completed in short periods features in the proposal. The state has already submitted a separate proposal of Rs 21000cr for 26 mega-irrigation projects under PMKSY. 

Telangana Mallannasagar oustees send revenue officials back High Court order quashing govt order 123 and 214 have given villagers facing displacement a new strength. Celebrating the decision residents who were said to be “willing to sell their lands to the govt for the Mallannasagar reservoir,” burnt copies of the GO. More villagers expressed willingness to join in the fight against a project that would swallow their lands. This was evident when Erravalli farmers sent revenue officials back with the message that they were not interested in giving up their lands any more.

Andhra Water board owes Rs 400cr to irrigation department According to irrigation minister T Harish Rao the Hyderabad Water Supply and Sewerage Board had to pay over Rs 400cr to irrigation department towards power bills for Krishna water supply from Nagarjunasagar to Hyderabad. He said there was no response to several letters sent to the board. The minister held a review meeting with officials on lift irrigation projects and energy consumption on Aug. 02. He said that energy auditing for all irrigation projects should be done and the irrigation department had been paying penalties to energy department for delay in payment of bills. The minister directed the officials to assign energy auditing of lift irrigation projects to Administrative Staff College of India.

Punjab State takes 38 years to complete Kandi canal Started in 1978, the Kandi canal project construction has finally been completed by irrigation department. The project was divided into two stages: 60 km from Talwara to Hoshiarpur and 70 km from Hoshiarpur to Balachaur. Stage I was completed in 1998-99, while it has taken another 18 years for Stage II. Work on the second phase was held up till 2005 due to a shortage of funds.

RIVERS 

J&K State never conducted morphology of rivers, water bodies despite being aware of the fact that such an exercise helps the authorities concerned in tackling floods or sudden discharge from the upstream reservoirs. The Central Water Commission in the month of March 2009 had issued detailed guidelines for conducting of morphology studies of rivers and water bodies particularly those which have the history of causing floods. These guidelines were brought to the notice of all the State where floods during the rainy season is a regular phenomenon including J&K. However, no seriousness was shown towards conducting the study. 

Haryana Govt pumps 100 cusec water to revive ‘lost’ Saraswati by pumping 100 cusecs of water from tubewells into a dug-up channel at Uncha Chandna on Aug 05. The water was released from Uncha Chandna village in Yamunanagar. The water flow is expected to reach up to Kurukshetra covering a distance of around 40km. Saraswati Heritage Development Board had conducted a trial run on July 30. Irrigation department may release another 100 cusec if the flow does not reach Kurukshetra. 3 dams at Adi Badri, Lohgarh & Haripur on the Shivaliks are proposed to make the river perennial a. The points have been identified. In the future, water will be stopped at these dams to ensure continuous flow of Saraswati. CM says that State can divert water from another (Yamuna) river. Further, the water from Som river that causes flooding during monsoons could be shifted to the route of the Saraswati.

Minister inspects digging work in Tangri river Tangri is a seasonal river and over 1700 families reside in the river bed. They fear floods during monsoon. Cabinet Minister Anil Vij on July 31 inspected the work of digging and widening the Tangri river bed and expressed his dissatisfaction with the progress. He said that following a ban on mining, the level of the river bed has gone up. To save the people from flood fury, the irrigation department was asked to remove the sand and dig and widen in the river bed. The officials have been asked to double width of the river. The officials told Vij that the process of notifying the river area had been initiated.

Andhra Musi still listed as one of the most polluted rivers Despite the Musi revitalization project in operation for the last 5 years, there seems to be no end to the release of pollutants into the river. In May, replying to a question in Lok Sabha former environment minister stated that the central govt allotted Rs 345.72cr to the state for protection of two rivers–Musi and Godavari as a part of the National River Conservation Plan. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation had made a separate allocation of Rs 55.73cr for its conservation. Despite the influx of funds, the river has been listed, for the third time in a row, by the CPCB, in a list of most-polluted rivers in the country. And, since 2001, a whopping Rs 405cr was spent on the river conservation project.

Tamil Nadu Aadi Perukku leaves Cauvery river polluted Heaps of garbage in the form of garlands, used pieces of cloth and plastic bags were floating on the Cauvery river after they were offered by devotees as part of the traditional practice during Aadi Perukku. Newly-wed couples preserve their wedding garlands for this occasion and drop them into the river on Aadi Perukku. Besides, many devotees leave their clothes on the river bank and return wearing new clothes. Such practices affect the quality of the water and pollute the river bed. A series of arrangements and sensitisation drives by the civic body to save the river from pollution has not had much effect.

GANGA Study Retreating Gangotri glacier Gangotri glacier, one of the largest in Uttarakhand, is retreating at 12 metres per year, said scientists at the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development who are studying the site to come up with long-term strategies to combat the threat posed by global warming. The team is measuring the retreat of the 30-km-long glacier and the water flow in the Ganga. The team is also examining Chaturangi glacier, which is 4.5 km from Gangotri. The team will complete its study in Sep this year and the data will help unravel the hydrology of the glacier. It is worth to mention that recently Environment minister in a written reply in Lok Sabha stated that 87% of glaciers have shown no change, while 12% have retreated and 1% have advanced.

Centre Namami Gange projects worth Rs400cr approved The empowered steering committee of National Ganga River Basin Authority on Aug 01 approved various projects worth Rs.400cr in different States located along the river. On Aug. 04, water ministry also informed the Lok Sabha there are plans to  install ‘fish ladders’ in river Ganga near the Farakka Barrage in W-Bengal to help hilsa fish to breed in freshwaters,. Water Minister Uma Bharti said following the construction of Farakka Barrage, the number of hilsa available in the Ganga has gone down dramatically, as the sea water which seeps in, created hurdles in its breeding. Union Water Minister on Aug. 04 informing the Lok Sabha stated that as on 30 June 2016, 97 projects have been cleared under Namami Gange programme in 53 towns at an estimated project cost of Rs 8588.21 Cr. Out of these 12 projects have been sanctioned exclusively under new components of Namami Gange programme at a sanctioned cost of Rs 351.42 Cr. The Water Ministry also stated that 5 Central Public Sector Units (WAPCOS, EIL, NBCC, NPCC, EPIL) have been recently engaged to carry out the work on Condition Assessment & Feasibility Study & Entry Level activities under Namami Gange Programme in their respective river stretches in Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand & W-Bengal. They have surveyed 59 towns and identified 369 crematoria for up-gradation/construction. 64 crematoria have been recommended by the Empowered Steering Committee till date.  Also see, List of DPRs received for  Ghat  Development  River Front Development is one of the major component of NGRBA programme as well as the newly launched Namami Gange programme, under which  till date, 25 RFD projects have been sanctioned, out of which 24 are completed.

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UP Ganga ‘clean-up’ without visible results A RTI response reveals that Rs 2137cr was allocated for the national mission of Ganga cleaning in 2014-15. This was cut by Rs 84cr to Rs 2053cr. But the union govt spent only Rs 326cr, leaving more than Rs 1700cr unspent. The situation did not change much in 2015-16 either and, in fact, the union govt slashed the budgetary allocation from the proposed Rs 2750cr to Rs 1650cr. Of the amended budget, Rs 18cr was unspent in 2015-16. For the current 2016-17 fiscal, the union govt does not have any details of the expenses so far of the Rs 2500 cr allocated. According to another report, Bijnor continues to flush its waste into Ganga as the ambitious project to treat the city waste is running two years behind the schedule. The work on the Rs 115cr project kicked off in 2011 and was to be completed in 2014. But old drains continue to flush all the city’s waste into the Ganga due to the absence of the treatment system. As part of the project, sewage pipes were to be laid in the entire city to carry the effluent to a sewer plant. After the treatment at the plant, the water was to be released into the river or in the fields for irrigation purpose. 

Uttarakhand Doodhli valley’s ‘lifeline’ found polluted Suswa river, which is lifeline for Doodhli valley, home for thousands of people of Dehradun and wildlife as the area extends upto Chilla range of Rajaji, has become highly contaminated with sewage content and the its water is no longer potable. The facts came to the fore when scientists from an organisation conducted the sample tests of the river which gave the shocking facts. Suswa is a river which passes through Doodhli Valley of Dehradun. The residents of the valley are dependent on Suswa River for potable water, irrigation and other domestic uses. Two other seasonal rivers of Dehradun, Rispana and Bindal, which are the carriers of the sewerage of Dehradun, get connected with Suswa in Doodhli valley.

National Health worries over bottled Ganga jal sold by govt Studies on the quality of its water have suggested that beyond Rishikesh, Ganga jal is not potable. Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board says the Ganga water quality is ‘good’ at Rishikesh and upstream. A separate ministry for Ganga rejuvenation is headed by Bharati, who has given nod to constitute a committee that will prepare guidelines for de-siltation of the river from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (W-Bengal). The four-member panel has been asked to establish the difference between desilting and sand mining. And also look into the need for desilting for the ecology of the Ganga.

Expert Interview Ganga will start drying up in next 25 years According to govt’s own estimates, 300MLD of sewage is generated per day. The 3 treatment plants take care of around 102MLD & remaining 198 MLD being discharged into Ganga everyday. Cleaning seemed a possibility before 1990s when pollution was far lower. There has been a rapid decrease in the flow of water. The dilution capacity of Ganga has reduced and therefore, the priority now has to be to save Ganga. Cleaning is secondary. Govt should rope in all five state govts. Have a multi-disciplinary approach, involving people from different walks of life. Blasting works in Uttarakhand, which is a seismic zone, have to be stopped immediately or it would be disastrous to the 450 million people who live in Ganga basin.

YAMUNA YAP-III to conclude in Dec. 2018 JICA assisted Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) Phase-III has an estimated cost of Rs. 1656 cr. The project is to be implemented on 85:15 cost sharing basis between the Centre & the Govt of NCT of Delhi. The duration of project is 7 years. The project is scheduled to be completed in Dec 2018. Five components in Rithala and Kondli region package with total cost of Rs. 665.65cr have been sanctioned in May, 2016. Other steps include two projects, sanctioned in Sonepat and Panipat towns at a total cost of Rs. 217.87cr for pollution abatement of river Yamuna. The main project components include construction of new STPs of 70 mld capacity and rehabilitation of existing STPs of 75 mld capacity. Expenditure on the above project in last three years and current financial year is given below:

Fund Released under YAP-III (Rs. Cr)
SN Year Delhi Haryana Total
1 2013-14 5.0 10 15.00
2 2014-15 0 10.46 10.46
3 2015-16 4.96 30.00 34.96
4 2016-17

(current Year)

– till date

0 37.00 37.00

SAND MINING

Maharashtra Illegal sand mining eroded Savitri bridge foundation & led to the collapse of the bridge across the Savitri river near Mahad, local social activist Uday Ambonkar said on Aug 04. He told the media persons that there have been countless cases of illegal sand mining in and around the river which has been going on for years. He alleged that the local administration turns a blind eye to such illegal activities & periodic inquiries held by the officials are mere farce. Similarly one more activist Sumaira Abdulali has demanded a full investigation into the possible role of illegal sand dredging in weakening foundations of the Mahad bridge leading to its collapse. In a letter to CM the activist also highlighted how sand mining is impacting other bridges in Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai, endangering the lives of rail and road travellers. Meanwhile, Western Railway (WR) authorities has admitted that mining was weakening Vaitarna rail bridge foundation also. Ravinder Bhakar, CPRO, WR confirmed that illegal sand mining has left the bridge’s foundation a bit shaky. He added that there is a nexus between the sand mafia and certain state govt departments. Due to the illegal sand mining, the flow of the Vaitarna has been altered, which is a dangerous sign for the bridge’s health. On Aug 1, 2011, around 25 feet of the bridge was washed away by soil erosion. Also see, Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP participated in discussion on MAHAD bridge collapse. 

Karnataka NGO releases documents, sting videos on illegal sand mining On Aug. 01, an NGO has  released on Aug 01 a 300 page document with sting video clippings on illegal sand mining allegedly taking place in Unidivided Dakshina Kannada district. Convener of the NGO, Shashidhar Shetty said that illegal sand mining in coastal Karnataka is a multi-crore scandal of more than Rs 850 cr per annum & it has sufficient documents prepared over 2 years to prove the illegal sand mining in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada district. He further added that only fishing communities are eligible to mine sand using traditional boats from the spots identified by the govt. The extracted sand should be utilized only for local construction activities.

Andhra NGT issues notice to govt over free sand policy The southern bench of the Green Tribunal on Aug 01 has admitted a petition filed by former Vijayawada legislator Devineni Rajasekhar and issued notices to Andhra govt, the Director of Mines and Geology and to all District Collectors following allegations of misuse of the recently introduced Free Sand Policy. The policy says that only manual mining is allowed. Even, the Union govt issued a notification for regulation of sand mining, which includes total prohibition of machinery for excavation/quarrying of sand. The bench made it clear to the Andhra govt that its authorities must discourage sand excavators from using poclains and dredging machines to excavate sand from rivers across the state. It also banned the use of heavy vehicles and plying of vehicles on river banks. The bench also directed the government not to allow vehicles other than tractors and tillers into sand reaches. The bench gave respondents time till August 26 to file their replies.

Tamil Nadu Illegal sand mining in Thamirabarani river The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Aug 03 ordered notice to the Tuticorin district collector, geology and mines assistant director and Srivaiguntham tahsildar on a petition that sought to prevent sand mining operations on the Thamirabarani riverbed. In the PIL, the petitioner has complained that K Krishnan alias Kannan of K R Brick Chamber had been given contract to mine black cotton soil on the riverbed. However, he was carrying out sand mining operations flouting the guidelines. 

Bihar 30 involved in sand mining arrested A joint team of Patna and Bhojpur police, led by Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj, on Aug. 02 arrested 30 alleged criminals, seized 24 poclain machines and four boats during an operation against illegal sand mining in Maner area. Police sources said the criminals had illegally occupied acres of land in the diara area of Maner and were engaged in illegal sand mining. Despite the presence of police, the mafiosi continued to mine sand. The Chaurasi ghat from where they were arrested is not licensed by the govt for sand mining. Police have also found live and used cartridges of sophisticated firearms.

Kerala 4 migrants held for sand mining Police have arrested four migrant labourers from UP, who have been working for a cooperative society, for illegally mining sand near the railway bridge across Valappattanam River on Aug. 01. According to police, the labourers were found mining sand in the early hours. Though such mining is dangerous to the bridge, it is still rampant. Since the mining was done for the societies, police may take action against them as well. The sand mining in various parts of the river has always been shrouded in controversy. While the small islands in the river are on the verge of destruction following sand mining, there are also allegations of huge corruption in sand mining in the name of manual dredging near Azhikkal Port.

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Op-Ed Tracking sand mining Kanchi Kohli The 2016 sand mining guidelines of MoEF directly correlates the increased demand for sand with the requirement for cement by the construction sector. The true efficacy of this regulatory framework is still to be fully understood. The starting point is for people to know that it actually exists and that district collectors will be preparing a District Survey Report, which will be put out for public comments. The DEIAAs are at their formative stage, with the numbers not yet disclosed. Even as we track the impact environmental regulation of sand mining and minor minerals will have, the fact is that we now have regulation to reckon with. The report gives explanation to anyone interested in understanding how the environment approvals for sand mining and other minor minerals are now governed.

WETLANDS & WATER BODIES 

W-Bengal Govt won’t tolerate illegal construction on wetlands Mamata Banerjee on Aug. 02 said that illegal filling up of water bodies for real estate development would not be tolerated. She asked the police department to take action even if someone involved in these activities takes the name of the CM or the ruling Trinamool Congress. Meanwhile a survey by some scholars reveals how records of some of the plots inside the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) have been changed from the documents appended with the EKW Act. The state govt had prepared the EKW land profile under the directions of Calcutta high court. The govt also formed a management committee under the chief secretary to ensure that none of the plots identified as wetlands is filled up for construction activities. On the other hand Ramsar Bureau senior regional adviser (Asia-Oceania) Lew Young expressed concern over the future of the wetlands following the CM’s announcement that nearly 25,000 illegal construction within the Ramsar site will be regularized and its owners allowed to seek mutation from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Shockingly Mayor Sovan Chatterjee justified Mamata’s decision to regularize construction at EKW by claiming that the wetlands meant little to the common man who needed civic services more than environmental niceties.

Maharashtra 6 months on, MoEF yet to classify Kopri wetlands Environment Ministry is yet to survey and classify correctly the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) status of the 20 hectare wetlands plot at Kopri. In fact, the MoEF has shirked off its responsibility and has passed the buck on the state government. The western bench of the tribunal presided has now directed the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority to respond to the MOEF regarding the preparation of the CZMAP by Aug 23.

UP PIL in SC to save ponds Moving the SC for transfer of their PIL to the NGT, petitioner say that since a portion of the HC building in Lucknow is situated over the pond and since the issue involved directly relates to the Lucknow bench of the HC, which is a beneficiary of the allotment of pond land, it would not be appropriate for the HC to decide it. 

WATER 

Telangana PM launches Mission Bhagiratha PM Narendra Modi on Aug 06 launched Mission Bhagiratha at Komatibanda Village, Gajwel, in Medak District. The scheme has been launched by the State Govt with an objective to provide safe drinking water to all. Mission Bhagiratha is a pet project of the CM  taken up at an outlay of Rs 42000cr. Apart from creating a water grid for supply drinking water to houses, it aims to rejuvenate more than 45,000 water tanks. The PM unveiled plaques to lay Foundation Stones for important development projects. PM Modi on his maiden visit to Telangana to launch massive Rs 40000cr mission Bhagiratha project, which seems like an ill conceived, costly and unnecessary project for many parts since cheaper, local and more sustainable solutions should be possible in most places, such pipeline grid could also pave the way for privatisation. 

DELHI WATER 

Identify wetlands within a week The Delhi govt has been directed to expeditiously identify wetlands in Dwarka sub-city within a week after an environment activist sought the Green Tribunal’s intervention in the matter. Meanwhile, Delhi govt has written to the environment ministry to clarify whether “johads” are wetlands. Most waterbodies in the city’s revenue records are labelled johads. After the clarification, the govt may consider notifying some johads as “wetlands”, which means they would be conserved and their status or land use cannot be changed. The govt is also considering a nodal agency for wetlands but the department hasn’t been finalized yet. As of now waterbodies are scattered under DDA, MCD, Delhi Jal Board and others. On the other hand, backed by two scientists, Dwarka residents recently submitted their suggestions to NGT, saying that reviving water bodies in Dwarka could ensure water sufficiency in the area. The note recommends reviving all the 33 water bodies in Dwarka with surface run-off. The team also assessed the water table in the area around a water body in Sector 23 before and after the monsoon.

Civic body throws wrench in revival plan for Naini Lake North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has taken a U-turn & decided not to hand over the Naini Lake in Model Town to the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), which was planning on reviving the water body. In April, then-Mayor Ravinder Gupta had agreed to allot the lake to the DTTDC to carry out activities, including boat rides, on a licence fee basis. But, the proposal to allot the lake had been pending with the Standing Committee of the NDMC. On Aug 03, the panel decided to refer the case back to consider the possibility of maintaining the lake itself.

Flyovers fail harvesting test According to an NGT order of Aug 2015, no flyover or bridge can be approved without RWH. Meanwhile, of the three municipal corporations that own a majority of roads in the city, east and north civic bodies have not made any provision for RWH on their roads. While most flyovers that have come up since then bear some semblance of RWH, roads do not have any such system so far. Some work has been done by the South Corporation with officials claiming that a majority of the 104 wards under it have carried out small-scale RWH at 3-5 sites each. However, most of these RWH pits are next to drains where water level may already be high enough for the system to be ineffective. The Delhi Metro too has been asked to carry out RWH and it has provided pits at 464 locations.

Rainwater harvesting made easy at DJB centres DJB has taken an initiative to promote rainwater harvesting. The plan is to open many more rain centres in the coming six months. There are three rain centres in Delhi RK Puram, Dwarka and Lajpat Nagar. The DJB has made it mandatory for owners of properties built on an area of more than 500 metre squares to install a water harvesting system. They will get a 10% rebate on water bills if this is done. If not, the water tariff will increase by 1.5 times every month. The deadline is Sep 30. Delhi gets an average of 611 mm of rain in a year and even if part of it is tapped, some pressure will be off the DJB to supply water to a vast majority of parched Delhiites.

AGRICULTURE 

National The arhar challenge Any rational approach would suggest carrying out a thorough diagnosis of what led to this price surge, and based on that, potential solutions. Govt should also work in making the incentive structure, currently skewed in favour of rice and wheat, crop-neutral. An important point this piece mentions is that to achieve level playing field for pulses, so much more will need to be done. 

Report Agriculture in 115 districts is highly vulnerable to climate change According to a May 2016 study, most of the “very highly vulnerable” districts come from India’s western and peninsular regions. Rajasthan has 25 “highly vulnerable” districts, the most in this category nationwide. Gujarat, MP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, eastern UP & Bihar also exhibit “very high” & “high” vulnerability. Least vulnerable to climate change are districts along India’s west coast, northern Andhra Pradesh and north eastern states. Assam has the highest number of districts, 13, of “very low vulnerability”. Interesting study that lists 115 districts of India where farming is very vulnerable to climate change. 

Maharashtra State stares at 27-40% shortfall in sugar yield in 2016-17 UP will for the first time since 2005-06 topple Maharashtra from the position of top sugar producer. Marathwada, Khandesh, Solapur, and Ahmednagar regions produce 60% of Maharashtra’s sugar and these regions have witnessed a 75% reduction in the acreage under cultivation. In districts of Sangli and Kolhapur, there is a 10-15% reduction in acreage.  Apart from drought, industry stakeholders say the “sustained campaign” by the “anti-sugarcane lobby” in and outside Maharashtra has also driven farmers away from the high-yielding commercial crop. Pradeep Purandare, water expert say that the ISMA and Maha Sugar Fed estimates may not be reliable as they are the industry stakeholders.

ENERGY OPTIONS 

National Total capacity of Renewable Energy installed Informing Lok Sabha on Aug. 04 Piyush Goyal, New & Renewable Energy Minister stated that total accumulative capacity of over 44235Mw have been installed in the country from various renewable energy sources. These sources include 27151Mw of Wind Power, 7805Mw of Solar Power, 4304Mw of Small Hydro Power and 4975Mw of Biopower. 

SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh Adani Power project crosses major hurdle Expert panel has cleared the terms of reference for the 1600Mw thermal power project of Adani Power in Jharkhand. The project is the result of an agreement between India & Bangladesh signed in Jan 2010 with a view to enhancing their ties through economic cooperation. The agreement, signed by Adani Power and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), is aimed at developing the thermal power plant and supplying the entire power generated to BPDB through a dedicated transmission line. The Rs.13,906 crore project was, however, put on hold in May over environmental concerns such as inadequate information about the withdrawal of water from the nearby Chir river and the water use.

From drought to floods in 45 days A water-parched South Asia has suddenly got too much of it since the start of the monsoon in mid-June. As the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus and their tributaries swelled with rain water large swathes of farmland were inundated in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Parts of large cities such as Dhaka, Guwahati, Patna, Allahabad, Lahore, Sialkot and Gujranwala went under water, and the same fate threatened New Delhi. It is not as if it has been an especially vigorous monsoon. It has even been 13% deficient in east and northeast India.

CHINA 

Tibet Heavy rains caused a dam to burst Following heavy rains in China a dam in Lhaze County, Xigaze Prefecture, was breached on Aug. 03 as water in the Yarlung Tsangpo River rose. Water from the dam flooded 3 villages, with more than 100 ha of crops and forest inundated. Soldiers have been working overnight to repair the dam. No casualties have been reported so far. Since the high water season began in early June, flooding has left hundreds of people dead or missing in China.

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Three George Dam: Loosing its flood control capcity Considered purely as a means of flood control, the dam is a mixed blessing. The silt-free water that gushes through it fails to replenish embankments downstream, thus weakening them as flood barriers several to them collapsed this year. Below the dam, the water now runs faster; it has scraped away and lowered the Yangzi’s bed by as much as 11 metres. As a result nearby wetlands drain into the river damaging their ability to act as sponges during a flood.

REST OF THE WORLD 

Report Floods as agents of river restoration Mankind typically views flooding as a bad thing, but what’s underappreciated is that it can be a good thing because floods are effective at restoring river systems to their natural state. We shouldn’t always try to undo what floods do because that’s undoing natural restoration.

Africa Building new dams is adding to malaria burden  Africa is home to 90% of the global malaria burden, carrying at least 174 million cases annually. A conservative estimate is that more than one million malaria cases result from large dams in Africa each year. Specific examples of elevated transmission around dams have been documented in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe. One example is the Koka Reservoir in central Ethiopia.

Brazil Govt cancels mega-dam on Tapajós River Brazil’s Federal Environmental Agency announced the cancellation of licensing for the polemic São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam, the largest hydroelectric project planned for the Amazon.   

Also see, Amazing video highlighting different aspects of rivers in Pacific North West of US, the Columbia basin rivers there are indeed amazing. So are Indian rivers. Hope someone soon makes one on our rivers.

CLIMATE CHANGE 

Study Heavy rainfall not associated with warming The study also found that dynamic moisture transport caused by thermal gradient between land and water had a significant role on mean and extreme rainfall compared with direct thermodynamic effect. Data for 50 years pre- and post-1975s were used for the study. Prof. Raghu Murtugudde a co-author says that there is no intention to claim that climate change is not important. But the novel results indicate that the local warming is not the controlling factor. The clues are in the rapid warming of the Indian Ocean and the changing roles of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean in monsoon variability and extremes. 

Report Himalayas and Andes face opposite challenges According to conclusion of a new research, people in the Himalayas will have to contend with flooding, while those in the Andes will have longer dry spells & less water in future.  To calculate and compare each region’s water balance, the researchers created a new and very extensive model of the upper Langtang valley in Nepal and the Juncal region of the central Andes in Chile. Both are important water catchment areas for the millions of people who live in the surrounding lowlands. The new model also indicates that Langtang could be in for increased rainfall in the future, which will exacerbate the effect the increasing glacier melt is having on water discharge. But this is not the case in Chile, where the drought in the summer months of December to March will get worse.

ENVIRONMENT

Goa Proposed IIT campus may just get shelved The proposed permanent campus in south Goa has been opposed by locals and environmentalists. It has forests contiguous to a wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve, grazing lands and is key source of groundwater recharge for several villages in the vicinity. Local gram sabha may vote soon to decide whether to oppose it.

You may like to see, DRP News Bulletin 01 August 2016 & DRP News Bulletin 25 July 2016.

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