DRP News Bulletin 27 March 2017 (DON’T WE NEED TO LEARN TO TRULY CELEBRATE OUR RIVERS?)

This is about the proposed Brahmaputra Festival being planned by the Assam Govt from March 31 to April 4, 2017. The five-day festival will witness significant participation from China. Various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also reported as attending the program. It is scheduled to be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.  

It is true that the word business appears four times on the opening page of this festival website, but the word flood, erosion and people do not appear even once. This is relevant since for very large sections of people of Assam, the river also means floods, erosion, displacement and disaster on regular basis and not just “lifeline of Assam” or “life-giving prosperity and countless blessings”.  

The festival website also errs in many ways, including when it claims “India’s only male river”, since there are several male rivers, including Damodar, Ajoy, Pagla, Gadadhar, among others. It is true that even the word Nemami is copied from the Nemami Gange, but that should not be such a big issue?

It is true that people also suffer when river dries up or is polluted or is encroached or unsustainably mined, and none of these issues are highlighted by the festival website. It is true that the the Assam also means all the communities, including the bodos and mishing and many others, not just Guwahati or Dibrugarh or Majuli. The festival organisers may argue that we are taking the festival to all 21 districts, but it is important to recognised all communities of Assam.

This is in addition to the fact that Brahmaputra includes all the states of North East India, and more. The Brahmaputra, 2,900 km long, is an international river with 918 km of it flowing in India, 1625 km in China and 337 km in Bangladesh.

It is true that the festival is more about attracting tourists, business and transport along the river. And so it is not even giving a comprehensive picture of the rivers of Brahmaputra basin in Assam, nor is there attempt to do anything to improve the state of the rivers. Similarly, the destruction of the rivers of Guwahati and Assam needs to be halted and reversed, and may be this occasion can be used to push that advocacy?

It is true that the budget of the festival (Rs 15 crores? must be more) could be spent in better ways.

But all this should not mean that we don’t celebrate our rivers. In fact, the struggle against Lower Subansiri Hydropower project by Assamese people should have got prominent place in the Brahmaputra Festival of Assam, but unfortunately it finds no mention here.

All in all, can we not take this as an opportunity to see this as celebration of the river and push the agenda of river where it is not being done? We have so few opportunities to celebrate our rivers and we do need to truly celebrate our rivers, don’t we?

WORLD WATER DAY 22 MARCH 2017

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SANDRP Blog Narela: How a growing Delhi is destroying its pond Ponds are an essential asset for our survival. They store rainwater and work as groundwater recharge points. They can also treat sewage to some extent. Not long back, ponds water was used for potable purposes. But things seem to have changed drastically specially in urban areas in recent decades. Through this field report comprising of latest images, we try to present current status of ponds in and around Narela in Delhi city. Also see, RSTV SPECIAL program (VISHESH) on World Water Day, quotes SANDRP coordinator at six different places. Feed back is welcome.

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Austin: Water governance examples,we can learn from Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP’s detailed blog about remarkable governance of watershed in Austin (Texas, USA). As she says, there is a lot we can learn from here.

SANDRP Marathi Blog नद्यांना जगवू, मग पाणी येईलच मागच्या जागतिक जलदिनी महाराष्ट्राचा धरण साठा होता अवघा २१%. मराठवाड्याचा होता ०.५%. अख्खा उन्हाळा समोर आ वासून उभा. गेल्या ५ वर्षांतील 3 वर्षं महाराष्ट्राने भीषण संकटे बघितली : दुष्काळ, अवकाळी, भूगर्भातील पाणी पातळी आत्यंतिक कोसळणे, धरण घोटाळे, शहरांची वाढती तहान, त्यासमोर हतबल होणारा शेतकरी, डाळींना हमीभाव देखील न मिळणे. या सगळ्यांतून एकत्रित संताप निर्माण झाला नसता तर नवल. अनेक पद्धतीने तो विखार मांडला गेला. Article by Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP on World Water Day.

SANDRP Blog Rivers of stories; a yarn of tales about India’s rivers Like rivers, their stories too are never-ending. Like tributaries meet rivers, their stories flow, change and grow through the time. River stories bind us. Sindhu might be a shared, contested river basin between India and Pakistan, but millions of Hindus and Muslims from across the border listen to the stories of Jhulelal, the god of the Indus. Be it Bangladesh or Pakistan or Nepal or Bhutan, we share these stories, just like we share the rivers. Parineeta Dandekar blog on River Tales.

Rajasthan

SANDRP Blog Rajasthan Rivers Profile Rivers in Rajasthan are mostly seasonal, but this fact explains little because a river is not just the surface flow, evident to a naked eye. All the rivers and their floodplains in this desert state are vast grazing grounds supporting millions of livestock. These unseen rivers also recharge the groundwater making well irrigation possible. Modern-day development activities, however, are putting an enormous pressure on them. If deforestation has reduced the water flow, rampant sand mining has affected the water retention and seepage into subsurface channels.

Maharashtra Mumbai’s Mithi is more sewer than river now The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation may claim it has finished 95% of the work on deepening and widening the Mithi river at a cost of Rs659.83 crore, but, point out environmentalists, nothing has been done to improve the health of the river. A water quality index reading by the State Pollution Control Board between March and August 2016, at the Bandra end of the Mithi River, showed high pollution levels as a result of a surge in domestic waste being deposited in these areas. According to some experts, nearly 54% of the original river flow has been lost to encroachments, roads and development.

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GANGA Uttarakhand HC declares Ganga, Yamuna living entities, gives them legal rights What would this mean on ground? The high court on March 20, 2017 declared the Ganga and Yamuna living entities, bestowing on them same legal rights as a person, a move that could help in efforts to clean the pollution-choked rivers. The order also ends the five-day reign of New Zealand’s Whanganui River as the only one in the world to be granted living entity status. The court’s order will allow complaints to be filed in the name of the two rivers, held sacred by millions of Hindus. A bench of justice Rajeev Sharma and justice Alok Singh allowed the director general of Namami Gange project, Uttarakhand chief secretary and advocate general the right to represent the Ganga.

Recognizing the rivers as a living entity grants them new found legal identity and all rights laid out in the Constitution of India. The two rivers (Ganga and Yamuna) thus have the right to be legally protected and not be harmed/destroyed. They can also be parties to disputes. The rights, experts say, can be used to protect the interests of the rivers.

The recognition came while the court was hearing 2014 PIL. The bench also held that if the state govt failed to fulfil its responsibility regarding the rivers, then the central govt should step in. The court also directed the central govt to constitute the Ganga Management Board within eight weeks to look into the issue of cleaning and maintaining the river. Hearing the petition the high court asked the district magistrate to clear the areas in 72 hours or face legal action.

Earlier this month, the Centre cleared projects worth Rs 1,900 crore for Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Delhi under the Clean Ganga campaign. Of the 20 projects, 13 are in Uttarakhand and will involve setting sewage treatment plants and upgrading the existing ones.

Also see, Does this mean the Ganga in Bangladesh is a living entity too? Or is it only our stretch of the river? Time, will tell if this dramatic new order can actually save our rivers or if it will just be yet another wonderful judgement subverted by interpretation in our crazy need to develop. Will the rivers just flow, witnessing yet another failure on our part to return to them a measure of the glory they bring us, or will they flow with life witnessing the countless civilisations to come after us? 400 million people depend on the Ganges for their livelihoods. Millions more depend on the river for their spiritual cleansing. 57 million people depend on the Yamuna. Loved this, Swati Thiyagarajan.

‘Save Ganga’ a long process with hydro projects impacting free flow: Activists This is indeed important: Environmentalist Ravi Chopra said that after the 2013 floods, the then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna had also ordered that no construction would be allowed in a 200 metre distance from the banks of the Ganga. Various court orders too had been issued. But till date no efforts have been made to implement them. This order might meet the same fate.

HYDRO POWER

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SANDRP Report Are large hydropower projects up to the task? Economics of electricity exchange markets and even the directly calculated costs (the environmental and social costs are never properly counted) tell us that large hydropower projects are no longer viable. In this situation and considering the performance of such projects, do we really need to put up more hydropower projects and destroy our rivers in foreseeable future? Article by Parineeta Dandekar and Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP published in DNA weekly coloum The River Speaks

Arunachal Pradesh Etalin HEP: FAC exposes govt’s lack of homework The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has deferred forest clearance to the 3,097 MW Etalin Hydropower Project. It said that the proposed project falls under the richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone and falls under one of the mega bio-diversity hotspots of the world.  Surprisingly, the site inspection carried out by the state govt forest official did not mention about the biodiversity of the area in its report which the FAC noted. The Chief Conservator of Forest however, mentions few mammal and plant species. In fact this area has more biodiversity than any other part of the country, the FAC noted.  Excellent, detailed report by Tongam Rina about the FAC’s refusal to recommend forest clearance for the 3097 MW Etalin Project in Dibang Valley in Arunachal.

NEEPCO denied RHEP land donors their legitimate rights: Committee The Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project MoU Demand Committee (RMDC) has alleged the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) of unjustly denying the land donors of 405 MW Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project of their legitimate rights. The injustices that people have faced at the hands of NEEPCO in implementation of the Ranganadi HEP can hardly inspire confidence of people in other hydropower projects.

Uttarakhand New CM seeks release of funds for Lakhwar dam New CM  Trivendra Singh Rawat has asked Union minister for water resources Uma Bharti on March 21, 217 to release funds for the ambitious 300 MW Lakhwar dam hydro-power project on Yamuna river in in Dehradun district. The 192 meter long dam is expected to come up at a cost of Rs 3,966 crore. The New Uttarakhand CM demands funds for the controversial Lakhwar project, which is clearly in violation of the latest Uttarakhand HC order asking that Yamuna be treated as a person.

MATU PR Expectation from new Uttarakhand Govt One of the biggest challenges before the new govt is to ensure just and proper rehabilitation of people displaced by Tehri dam which has not happened till now. The company making the dam THDCL is pushing for the permission to fill the dam to the fullest. However, this permission has not been granted because the process of resettlement and rehabilitation has not been completed yet. A new policy was enacted for close to 40 villages which are impacted, but the same has not been implemented. We hope that this policy will be acted upon.

DAMS

Telangana CWC refuses node to Kalesawram Irrigation project In a setback to the State Govt that sought massive redesigning of irrigation projects, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has refused to accord clearances to Kaleswaram irrigation project, construing it a new project. CWC rejects Telangana request to consider the Kaleswaram Project as an old project in place of Pranhita Chevella Project and asks it to get approval from Godavari Board and Andhra Pradesh.

IRRIGATION

Center PMKSY assets to be managed by water user bodies: Agri Secretary This lofty ideal is only for public consumption, it seems. If they think that they have the will to hand over management of big irrigation project to farmers/ water user association, let them show it by doing it for an existing project rather than claiming it will happen in new project. Moreover, there is no involvement of these so called stakeholders in decision making about the scheme, but after taking all the wrong decisions, now the govt wants the farmers to take over the management. This is clearly not likely to happen.

RIVER INTERLINKING

Ken-Betwa Link Expert who asked for more studies quit green panel Ecologist Deepak Apte, who insisted on more studies to gauge the impact of projects such as Ken-Betwa river linking and Etalin hydropower has quit the FAC barely five months into his two-year tenure. His resignation comes days before the FAC submitted its report on the Ken-Betwa project’s potential impact on the Panna tiger reserve. The FAC team visited the Ken-Betwa project site in Jan 2017 but could not furnish its report in time for the FAC meeting held on Feb 28, 2017. Notably at a closed-door meeting on Jan 5, 2017 Environment Minister Anil Dave had told a gathering of around 40 expert members of the ministry’s different panels —Apte was one of them—not to delay project clearances by repeatedly asking for different studies. We hope this is indeed true that the FAC sub committee has indeed asked for more studies. We have to wait as the report of the sub committee is NOT in public domain.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Shipping Ministry Development of Indian Waterways Transport System  The Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L. Madaviya on March 20, 2017 has informed the Rajya Sabha that out of 111 National Waterways (NWs), NW 1, 2 and 3 were declared as NWs in 1986, 1988, 1993 respectively and NW-4 & 5 in 2008. In respect of the 106 National Waterways declared on 12th April 2016, feasibility studies are underway.

WETLANDS

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Assam Guwahati’s smart city dreams dependent on wetlands The Brahmaputra riverfront remains a key focus under the Guwahati Smart City Project. The south bank river promenade is to incorporate riverfront restaurants and floating jetties. River cruises and water skiing will be encouraged to generate revenue. Also, there is to develop Deepor Beel into a wetland park and a birding destination on the lines of the Hong Kong Wetland Park. This is also expected to generate revenue through tickets, CSR funds and jungle style eco-lodges. The smart city project will take Guwahati’s natural heritage, develop it, and monetise it. This provides an overview of challenges of Guwahati as a smart city with water front and emphasises the need to protect the wetlands and water bodies and not just convert them to money making machines.

West Bengal Kolkata solar project under shadow A proposal to set up a solar power harvesting centre on Dhapa, a part of the Eastern Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), is awaiting the approval of State Govt which is keen to project Kolkata as a green city. However, this proposal may run into hurdles as it involves change in land-use plan of the fragile EKW eco-system. Vegetable farming has been undertaken here for decades and presently an estimated 40% of the city’s vegetables come from these areas. This is because the project is likely to threaten the livelihoods of thousands of vegetable growers depending on East Kolkata wetlands.

WATER OPTIONS

Maharashtra In arid Marathwada, village turns into oasis with water management The collective water storage made it possible for Kadwanchi to go in for high value crops such as grapes, ginger and chillies. The 455 families have nearly 600 wells. Nine check dams were built, nearly 25 km of stream were widened and desilted. As many as 347 farm ponds were excavated, and another 40 are now being added this year for the coming monsoon. The Success story of Kadwanchi village in Jalna district.

Centre Railways to buy recycled water from private players The Railways aims to cut down its water bill and save up to Rs 400 crore annually with a roadmap for buying recycled water from private players. With the dual aim of conserving the precious resource and reducing its consumption, the Railways will unveil its water policy, a first for the national transporter, for extensive use of treated water from water treatment plants for non-drinking purposes.  Indian Railways to come out with its water policy on World Water Day, buy treated water for recycle rather than freshwater, save money (its current annual water bill is Rs 400 crores) and also use its lands and buildings for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, etc. 

GROUND WATER

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National Groundwater contamination a hidden crisis In India, 19 states have reported fluoride contamination of water and groundwater in at least 10 states is contaminated with arsenic. India has over 30 million groundwater extraction points and barring a handful, in all states a majority of wells have registered declining water levels in the pre-monsoon months over a decade from 2006 to 2015. In pockets of Andhra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and W-Bengal the problem is particularly acute. Of the 10 states that have arsenic contamination, 7 have reported contamination level above the permissible limit. Most of these states lie in the Ganga basin, where a large population resides and relies on groundwater for irrigation and drinking purposes.

WATER

Centre PMO told that water wars are nearing in ‘water-stressed’ India As per draft appraisal of the 12th five-year plan submitted to PMO in the first week of this month, the growing scarcity of water is manifesting itself in the form of acute problems at the local level which may take the shape of social unrest.  The document points out that per capita availability of water has been steadily declining since 1951 due to population growth and depletion of water sources. India is classified as a ‘water-stressed’ country with per capita water availability at just 1,544 cubic metres as per the 2011 census.

WB approves $175 million loan for NHP The National Hydrology Project is expected to take forward the success of the Hydrology Project-I and Hydrology Project-II, under which real-time flood forecast systems in two large river systems (Krishna and Satluj-Beas) were developed to give reservoir managers an accurate picture of the water situation in their region. This claim of success is questionable, needs independent scrutiny and analysis.

Water scarcity behind decline in thermal power generation Power minister Piyush Goyal on March 16, 2017 told the Lok Sabha how the loss of generation (due to water non availability) has actually significantly increased over the past three years from 1,258 million units in 2014-15 to 4,989 million units in 2015-16 and to 5,870 million units in the first ten months of the current fiscal.” However, the electricity demand projections, of increase by 100% by 2026-27 are likely to be way off the mark.

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National India’s water regime crying for reforms The sorry state of water governance in India is a result of both state and market failure. The Shah Committee report has highlighted how the huge amount of water collected in government reservoirs is not available to farmers for use in various parts of the country. Unless the mismanagement of water resources is addressed and disincentives put in place to prevent over-exploitation of water, India is likely to witness rising water-related crises and conflicts in the years to come. Yes, indeed, governance needs fixing but possibly in different way than what it is stated here.

AGRICULTURE

National The pulse in a paradox of plenty SUCH A DISASTER: The price of tur or arhar is currently just Rs 4,000 per quintal, far below the govt-fixed MSP of Rs 5,050 plus Rs 450 bonus being provided by the Karnataka ­govt, as well as last year’s high of Rs 10,000-12,000. Purchasing by central govt agencies is not being done properly, so the mill owners are paying a lot less than the government-fixed price not just in Gulburga, but also in other mandis in the state. Masoor is selling for Rs 4,500-5,000 as against the MSP of Rs 5,250 and freshly harvested channa is not fetching any premium over the MSP of Rs 4,000. Small farmers are more affected as they have a maximum of 15 quintals and, being in no position to go to the mandi themselves, they are forced to sell to local traders at much lower prices.

SOUTH ASIA

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Indus Basin Map (Source: Kalyansir.net)

SANDRP BLOG India Pakistan resume talks on Indus Treaty: Stakes are high When on March 20-21, 2017, on the eve of the World Water Day, India and Pakistan’s Permanent Indus Commission met in Islamabad for its 113rd meeting, there is a lot at stake besides the immediate issues or even the Indus Treaty. Indus Treaty remains a bright spot in relations between these two neighbors and the treaty keeps getting them back to the talking table, this is magic of a shared river! SANDRP coordinator’s article in Dainik Bhaskar Edit page today on Indus Treaty talks. Feedback is welcome, plz share.

IWT Pakistan keen to set up climate change monitoring system for Indus rivers  As per Pakistan officials, Pakistan will put forward an advice of deploying a monitoring mechanism to assess the adverse affects of climate change on the water flows of Indus rivers system during a meeting, scheduled on March 19, 2017 with an Indian delegation. Pakistan to demand monitoring of Indus rivers to study climate change impacts and also raise the issue of no flows in eastern rivers at the forthcoming Indus Commission meeting.

IWT offers one-sided benefits to Pakistan, WB The author indulges in a lot of usual diatribe he is known for. except this piece of information. “Stuck with a mess of its own making, it is now prodding India to bail it out by compromising with Pakistan over the two moderate-sized Indian hydropower projects. But what Pakistan wants are design changes of the type it enforced years ago in the Salal project, resulting in that plant silting up.” It’s not public domain what those design changes were and what are its consequences. This PTI story has some additional information. Pakistan has been flagging concern over designs of India’s hydroelectricity projects -Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) — being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty.

As per latest report Pakistan will have to live with the fact that India plans to continue utilisation of its allocation under the IWT, as it refused to countenance any change of design of the Miyar dam in J&K as asked by Pakistan. According to MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay India defended its presence at the Lahore meeting of the Indus Commissioners. He also said that so long as we are a party to the treaty, it is our legal obligation to attend the treaty-mandated meetings which is held at least once every financial year. Pakistan also said both countries would go to Washington in April for a meeting mediated by the World Bank to chart “the way forward”. India has refused to say clearly whether it would go to the meeting, the MEA leaving it cryptic with a “premature to talk of hypothetical contingencies”.

Is Sawalkot dam India’s water weapon against Pakistan? Environmental activists have also voiced their concern over the construction of the dam, which would be tantamount to ecological destruction. There will be a massive displacement of population and the land needed for the dam will sweep away large areas of forest cover. Moreover, the Sawalkot dam is close to the Himalayan Boundary Thrust Zone, where a number of earthquakes have been recorded. This article raises some sharp questions.

India-Bangladesh West Bengal ‘unconvinced’ over Teesta water sharing issue According to a State Govt official, CM Mamata Banerjee remains unconvinced over the Teesta Water Sharing pact particularly with regard to the situation in north Bengal. The CM is not keen about the deal because the Centre has made no attempts to reach out and address the twin issues of water scarcity and flooding in the area. Damming of the Teesta in Sikkim is another issue that the state complained to the Centre about. The official further stated that the Sikkim govt has a number of hydro electric projects on the Teesta river coming up. During rainfall, Sikkim releases water during the rainy season which leads to flooding in north Bengal and during the dry season, there is water shortage in north Bengal due to their dams.

As per another report, Centre is working hard to conclude the Teesta water sharing agreement with Sheikh Hasina’s govt, even ready to confront the aggressive and mercurial, Mamata Banerjee. Unperturbed by CM Mamata Banerjee’s statement expressing deep concern for not having been “consulted” on the proposed agreement, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay has said stakeholders would be consulted at the right time in the spirit of “cooperative federalism”. Banerjee said that she was told the signing of the Teesta treaty would be on May 25, 2017 following the visit of Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina on April 7-10. Other northeastern CMs had been invited to the signing but not her.

MoWR Bharti calls for strengthening river water co-operation with Nepal During a telephonic conversation with Nepalese Irrigation Minister Deepak Giri on March 21, 2017, Union Water Minister Uma Bharti has called for strengthening river water co-operation with Nepal. Bharti suggested setting up of Joint Development Authority for Kosi river on the lines of Pancheshwar Development Authority. Referring to Pancheshwar, Bharti said that India will extend all help to Nepal for developing its water bodies as an important tourist attraction. The Nepalese Minister promised full co-operation from Nepalese side for Indo-Nepal river co-operation. As per report, Deepak Giri has also extended an invitation to Bharti to visit Nepal.    

SOUTH EAST ASIA

Myanmar Breaking hydro dead lock The IFC representatives weren’t spared, either. When a presentation was given on fish species in the Thanlwin River, which is slated for more than half-a-dozen larger hydropower projects, activists interrupted with sarcastic comments. They gave a range of reasons for opposing the projects, including the unfinished state of the peace process. U Oattra Aung, a member of Karenni National Youth Organization, said it was dangerous to proceed with hydropower projects in areas controlled by ethnic armed groups. He said he was not opposed to all hydropower projects, but plans for dams on the Thanlwin needed to be carefully considered because they affected the rights of ethnic minorities, the peace process and the nation’s political situation.

MIDDLE EAST ASIA

Syria ISIS warns Syrian dam at risk of collapse As per activists, the Islamic State group ordered residents to evacuate the Syrian city of Raqqa on March 26, 2017 following reports that Tabqa Dam contested by US-backed forces upstream on the Euphrates River could collapse. The militants said coalition airstrikes had weakened the Tabqa Dam, some 40 km west of Raqqa, and that the water level behind the dam was rising. The group also said in messages carried on its social media channels that the dam’s operations had been put out off service and that all flood gates were closed. The US-led coalition battling IS could not immediately be reached for comment. The dam is the largest in Syria.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Global Mega-dams, mega-damage? The first-ever dam dates from between 2950 and 2750 BC  built in Egypt to collect water for agriculture, and this continued to be the main purpose of dams until the late 19th century AD. It was only at the end of the 18th century that water exploitation for hydroelectric energy began, with construction of the first mega dams like the Aswan in Egypt (1902) and the colossal Hoover Dam in the United States (1932). Today, over 900,000 dams are estimated to exist worldwide, 40,000 of which are on a scale large enough to be considered ‘mega dams’. Although there is no universal definition of what qualifies as a mega dam, as a general rule they are large structures over 15 metres in height generating over 400 megawatts of power on average. Great to see this questioning of dams in scientific community, though India, where possibly worlds’s largest number of big dams are under construction is not focussed.

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As per one more report, new large hydro has shown a major year-to-year slowdown in 2016. It has also shown opposite tendencies for pumped storage and “true” hydro. The International Hydropower Association has issued annual brief on the“Key Trends in Hydropower”. In 2016, worldwide hydropower development grew by 31.5 GW of new capacity. World installed capacity of hydro kept downward growth in 2016, though the attempt at greenwashing of hydro continues.

Canada A SC ruling will determine how much we value our water This week, three Yukon First Nations and two conservation groups are at the Supreme Court of Canada, fighting to protect one of the planet’s most pristine watersheds – the Peel River Watershed. The case will have significant ramifications for First Nations rights and consultations. The Peel is not yet a household name, but it is an ecological treasure.

UN World Water Development Report 2017 : Wastewater: An untapped resource What if we were to consider the vast quantities of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastewater discharged into the environment everyday as a valuable resource rather than costly problem? This is the paradigm shift advocated in the United Nations World Water Development Report, Wastewater: the Untapped Resource, launched 22 March 2017 on the occasion of World Water Day. UN report on WasteWATER on World Water day 2017.

ENVIRONMENT

Op-Ed MoEF to bend over backwards to white list illicit projects On March 14, 2017, the environment ministry issued a notification that is a remarkable show of partisan support to projects that have been illegally operating without environmental approvals. The document lays out a process by which illegal industrial units, mines, ports or hydro projects can be granted clearance and “brought into compliance” within the next six months. This scheme takes our environment regulation several steps back and is one of the most retrograde ones in recent times. Very important issues raised here by Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon.

World Bank Probe finds IFC investment in Tata Power project breaching norms  World Bank’s probe body CAO has raised concerns over IFC’s insufficient action to address environmental norms violation by Tata Power arm Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL). World Bank investment arm IFC is an investor in CGPL. The latest CAO Monitoring Report raises a number of serious issues and violations by the Tata thermal Power Project in Kutch (Gujarat) including on water pollution, marine impacts, fisheries impacts and environmental impacts.

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Nagaland Extinct wild Turtle species discovered in Wokha district! In a hugely significant finding, a fresh water turtle species-Black Soft-shell turtle- which is categorized under the Extinct in the Wild (EW) of the Red List of Threatened Species by IUCN, has been discovered in the wetlands of Old Akuk village in Wokha district, Nagaland. Black Soft-shell turtle is a critically endangered species classified as Extinct in the Wild since 2002 and reported as endemic only to Assam and Bangladesh.

MoEF Steps taken for the preservation of biodiversity Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on March 20, 2017 has informed the Rajya Sabha that Govt has taken various initiative to protect the biodiversity of the country. He further stated that, notwithstanding of these measures, various non-forestry activities undertaken in forest areas for mining, industries, hydel power development, irrigation dams, railways, roads and other essential developmental activities may lead to destruction of forests and biodiversity in the diverted forest areas.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 20 March 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 13 March 2017

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