DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017 (MP talks about Narmada Seva after destroying the River with Dams, displacement of Lakhs of people)

On conclusion of five month long Narmada Sewa Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is today ( May 15, 2017) launching a road-map for steps to be taken for the conservation of the Narmada river. The MP state assembly has also recently declared river Narmada a living entity. Even otherwise quiet on rivers environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has expressed concerns for Narmada.

Contrary to all this, the Central Govt and 3 states of MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat have begun a process towards sanctioning completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, with closure of the 17 meters high gates. It is a countdown towards impounding waters in the 214 km land stretch where more than 40,000 families are residing till date. There are standing crops and massive plantations; thousands of pakka houses, schools, other public and private services erected; hundreds of temples, tens of mosques (as opposed to three temples claimed by the authorities), adivasi gods and worship places, all of which will be submerged. In protest thousands of people from Narmada valley, to be affected by Sardar Sarovar Project created a Human Chain on the borders of living village communities and on the banks of the river, protesting against any decision to close the dam gates.

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Meanwhile farmers in Gujarat are running from pillar to post for their rightful share of Narmada waters, while it flows on for unplanned uses like Sabaramati river front development, industries and Urban areas and now they are also agreeing that NBA was right. They plan to start agitation on May 16 if the work on minors in Dholera do not start by that date. Similarly, in an email alert NBA has raised the alarm that “after almost 32 years of struggle, lakhs of people in the Narmada valley to be affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, are being threatened with brutal eviction.  Also see, Urgent Appeal For Social Justice In The Narmada River Valley

With Lakhs of Madhya Pradesh people affected by the Sardar Sarovar and other dams, with what face is Madhya Pradesh govt talking about NARMADA SEVA? After destroying the river with dams, illegal sand mining, pollution, and water transfer?

HYDRO POWER 

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Jammu & Kashmir  No taker of costly Baglihar II hydro power In recent months there have been numerous articles and news reports about the inability of JKSPDC to sell the power generated by Baglihar II HEP. One would have loved to hear what the apologists for the ‘contractor’ and the poster boys of JKSPDC have to say in this regard but unfortunately they have chosen to remain silent.

TRUE: The fact of the matter is that it is the high construction cost of the project which is primarily responsible for the current situation.

– Universally, Stage II projects cost much less than a Stage I project since, amongst other things, a number of project structures are common with Stage I and stand already constructed. Moreover there are very few geological surprises, the related infrastructure is already available, the gestation period is low and operating costs are low.

– But in case of Baglihar II HEP this is not the case. With a construction cost of Rs 7.3 crores per MW, the project is as expensive as any new green field project. And this is the primary and the only reason for the current situation.

Govt should not even consider Bagliahar III since its costs would be even higher.

Report Hydro projects faces climate change risks Hydropower is projected to account for 20 per cent of India’s planned emissions cuts, according to one United Nations website tracking various nations’ pledges. Dr Schwanghart says scientific consensus on climate change indicates those emissions are themselves jeopardising hydropower. But harnessing hydropower entails several risks due to climate change too. The risk, Mr Schwanghart says, is that hydro projects won’t deliver the power that India’s banking on.

DAMS

West Bengal Govt to take solar-hydro route for green power project  Bengal is going solar this time to run generators that will pump water to a reservoir uphill in Purulia’s Ayodhya Hills during off peak hours, 10 years after the successful installation of Purulia Pumped Storage Project. The state power department will set up a 1,000MW solar-hydro power project when the existing project is a thermal-hydro mix. The proposal was cleared in the state cabinet meeting on May 08, 017. So W Bengal goes for using solar power for pumping water from lower reservoir of Purulia pump storage project, to be gain funded by Japan. How cost effective will this be when there is no additional price for peaking power.

IRRIGATION

Rajasthan Govt gets central nod for ERCP: official The Central Water Commission (CWC) has given clearance to an ambitious Rs 30,000 crore canal project of the Vasundhara Raje-led Govt in Rajasthan aiming to take Chambal river water to 13 parched districts of the state. The 13 districts include Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Swai Madhopur, Baran, Jhalawar, Jaipur, Tonk, Dausa and Alwar. The project will be done in 3 phases. The first phase will be from Galwa Dam to Dholpur, the second from from Galwa to Bisalpur-Isarda and the third from Galwa to Alwar, respectively. CWC gives in principle approval to the MASSIVE Rs 30000 crpres Rajasthan East Rajasthan Canal Project covering some 13 districts, and sourcing water from Chambal. The first question is does Chambal have water for such a project?

Maharashtra Inquiry blows lid off another irrigation scam Another kind of MASSIVE irrigation scam in Maharashtra, this time in terms of bogus Lift Irrigation Schemes in tribal areas, the schemes that were never taken up, or left incomplete, contracts given without any proper procedure, payments made to the same contractor for possibly hundreds of schemes, year after year. The money spent in the name of tribals, with no benefits to them except to the contractors, the officials and the politicians. The Gaikwad Committee report is out, thanks to Mumbai HC orders.

Gujarat Centre rejects 6,399 cr demand for SAUNI, doubts its feasibility The CWC External Assistance Directorate has rejected Gujarat Govt’s request for funds for the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI) on technical grounds, questioning the feasibility of the project. The CWC also questioned the water storage calculation for SAUNI project. With the Centre rejecting Gujarat’s request, the state Govt has decided to fund the project entirely from its own resources. Interesting to see CWC actually REJECTING a pet project of PM, needing Rs 18000 crores of Rs, on its technical viability and basic calculations. This should certainly be in public domain.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Link Over 18 lakh trees to be felled, part of tiger reserve diverted to link Ken, Betwa rivers  This is WRONG REPORTING without sufficient information, analysis or application of mind. For example, it concludes by saying: “According to officials, such forest areas are not usually considered for diversion as they are ecologically very sensitive areas.But what weighed in favour of such a diversion was the special objective of the project to provide water to water-scarce economically backward Bundelkhand.” BUT THE PROJECT OBJECTIVE IS NOT TO SOLVE WATER TO BUNDELKHAND, IT IS TO TRANSFER WATER TO UPPER BETWA BASIN. Moreover, shockingly, even before the FAC meeting tomorrow, the report actually predicts that the committee is ready to clear the project!! WHAT SHOCKING STATE OF ENVIRONMENT REPORTING IN INDIA.

RIVERS

Op-Ed Once upon a River by Raj Kishore Gupta Rivers, it seems, have gone out of the lives of large numbers of people in India, in cities surely. They do become part of public discourse, but only as items of disputes between riparian states, or as beneficiaries — or victims — of large projects or when they go into spate and cause havoc, sometimes even when they run dry. But the river as a part of people’s day-to-day experiences is rarely a matter of public conversation. It’s a REFRESHING article on RIVERS. On NMCG it rightly says that the project that took off last year is an improvement on its predecessor in very few respects. The project is a replica of the Ganga Action Plan in its emphasis on sewage treatment plants.

Yettinahole Row Protracted hearing turning into frustrating experience for petitioners Even after two years since legal struggle against execution of Yettinahole project was launched, no final solution is in the offing. The petitioners have been fighting against the project mainly on the basis of the devastation and damage it will inflict on ecology and environment of Western Ghats. Normally petitions in the NGT are decided faster. As the hearing is being put off repeatedly, the case reminds one of the legal maxims, ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’. Frequent adjournments of the case have frustrated the petitioners. Pained by long delay and postponements, the petitioners have approached the chairman NGT with a request to either re-transfer the case to Chennai bench or quash the petition.

Maharashtra Govt may regulate rivers water, auction it to garner revenue The Maharashtra Govt is toying with the idea of bringing all rivers in the state under its ambit to regulate their waters. The intention is to start auctioning the rivers’ waters so as to earn revenue from fisheries and boost pisciculture in fresh waters.The plan also includes taking possession of Pazar Talav (percolation ponds used for fisheries) which are currently regulated by the Zilla Parishad… Maharashtra produces 1.5 lakh tons per annum freshwater fish. This has so many implications, I doubt the govt has thought through this.

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Unfazed by censure factories make Maha Rivers filthiest The state with India’s biggest economy, also has the highest number of polluted river stretches in the country. And, at 161, it also has the most number of cities and towns along polluted stretches, according to a 2015 report of the CPCB. Of the 156 locations where the CPCB has set up its monitoring units on the 49 rivers and tributaries in the state, 153 do not meet the water quality criteria, according to the CPCB. The MPCB has issued more than 5,300 show-cause notices to erring factories between 2011 and 2017. Toxic waste has been choking the state’s rivers, and fishing communities complain that their daily catch is only 10% of what it used to be.

The report also says that of five CETPs in the Dombivli-Ambernath belt, four were not working, according to a March 2016 affidavit submitted by the CPCB to the NGT. Three years before that, in 2013, the level of pollutant in treated effluent was found to be “dangerously high” at three CETPs in Pune. Of the 24 plants, 11 are not following the environmental norms, the MPCB’s own latest report on the status of CETPs, available on its website, shows. Data for one plant were not available. MPCB is not so powerless as this makes out to be. Meanwhile widening and deepening of streams and rivers continues in the name of Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan: WILL THIS PROVE DISASTROUS IN THE LONG RUN?

WWF report Water from River Bhavani no longer safe for consumption A 3 year-long study by WWF underlined that water from River Bhavani is no longer safe for consumption. Not just the Bhavani, even the Kallar is in a bad state. A quick glance is enough to tell anyone that it is no longer a river, but a sewerage system for Coonoor town. The Bhavani does not fare well in Mettupalayam either. Pollution from the Kallar and Mettupalayam and ill-conceived hydropower projects have made its waters unsafe for use. Mettupalayam generates 6 to 8 MLD of domestic sewage, which is currently being discharged untreated into the river. Pollution is further exacerbated by two micro-hydel dams (10 MW each), recently built both upstream and downstream, converting the entire river stretch into a stagnant cesspool.

Karnataka A Rare, Pristine Estuary Comes Under Threat AGHANASHINI: ONE OF THE LAST FREE FLOWING RIVERS OF W GHATS UNDER THREAT. It was in this rich and highly productive estuary that, in 2009, the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) proposed to build a multi-purpose estuarine port. In late 2016, an expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests recommended environmental and coastal regulation zone clearances for the project. It is now one last step away from final clearance by the ministry, which is likely to be granted – regardless of the damage to the ecosystem, its aquatic species and the loss of traditional livelihoods. “On behalf of the industrial body, the NEERI in Nagpur conducted an environmental impact assessment of the proposed port. Pollution Control Board (PCB) held a public hearing on March 23, 2015, and the minutes of the hearing reveal that the draft impact assessment report was severely criticised. About 300 written representations were also received by the PCB. Most complained about the lack of consideration of the ecology and economic productivity of the estuary in preparing the EIA.

ब्रह्मपुत्र जैसा कोई नहीं  लेखक : अरुण तिवारी  दुनिया में बहुत कम प्रवाह ऐसे होंगे, क्षेत्र के साथ जिनका नाम इतनी बार बदलता हो, जितना कि ब्रह्मपुत्र का। गौर कीजिए कि ब्रह्मपुत्र नद को प्राचीन चीनी में ’पिनयिन’ और तिब्बती में ’यारलंग सांगपो’ के नाम से पुकारा जाता है। अरुणाचल प्रदेश में दिहांग और सियांग, असम घाटी में लुइत और ब्रह्मपुत्र तथा बांग्ला देश में प्रवेश के बाद इसे यमुना नाम मिलता है। बोडो लोग इसे बुरलंग-बुथुर कहकर भी पुकारते हैं। बांग्ला देश में पद्मा नदी से मिलन के साथ ही ब्रह्मपुत्र, नये रूप-स्वरूप और नाम के साथ नया स्वांग रचता है – यह नद से नदी हो जाता है। नाम रखा जाता है – देवी पद्मा। मन नहीं मानता, तो मेघना नाम धारणकर फिर निकल पड़ता है आगे समुद्र की गहराइयों को अपना सर्वस्व सौंपने। अनुचित न होगा यदि मैं कहूं कि नये-नये रुप और नये-नये नाम धरने वाला स्वांग कलाकार है, अपना ब्रह्मपुत्र।

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh Narmada declared a ‘living entity’ The one-day special session of state assembly was adjourned sine die on May 10, 2017 after passing a resolution to declare river Narmada as a living entity by majority of voice vote. The resolution introduced by environment minister Antar Singh Arya stated that river Narmada is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh and the govt is compelled to protect the legal rights of the river as a living entity. Speaking during the debate, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the Govt has moved the proposal to give living entity status to river Narmada to control pollution, illegal mining on the river banks and to save the river from getting depleted. Does this open the way for prosecution of MP CM, Water Resources Minister, NVDA, NCA, NHPC, NHDC and Gujarat Govt among others, since ALL OF THEM ARE GUILTY of depleting the river.

In another news report the C has stated that the Narmada Seva Yatra will be the springboard for clean-up drives in other rivers of state particularly Tapti, Son and Kshipra by next year. This is unique because the Madhya Pradesh Govt’s efforts will end up benefiting neighbouring states UP, Jharkhand and Bihar where the Son flows through; Gujarat where the Tapti flows; and Rajasthan, where the Kshipra meets Chambal river. Is there any improvement in state of Narmada with this Narmada Seva Yatra? How can it be model for other rivers? Now CM says it will also happen for Tapti, Son and Kshipra over the next year! Also see 3 MP rivers polluting Ganga

GANGA Centre Namami Gange programme hits Mamata roadblock Namami Gange is the latest central scheme to hit the roadblock in Mamata Banejee’s West Bengal. West Bengal govt has refused to attend meetings to discuss riverfront development projects in the state under the Centre’s flagship programme. 3 projects in the state — riverfront development of Gangasagar, Belur and Dakshineswar — are reported as very important. Work has not started in any of these projects so far because of non-cooperation by the state government.

The state Govt has not agreed to come on board for the Centre’s ambitious project to link the Manas-Sankaosh-Teesta-Ganga rivers to provide benefits of irrigation, drinking water and flood control to Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. Despite several letters by Bharati to the state CM soliciting her support, Banerjee has opposed the project saying it will adversely affect the state’s interest. Is Uma Bharati looking for new reasons to justify why she could not achieve any progress in Namami Ganga.

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YAMUNA AoL Row Before NGT, all authorities take same line–Not our fault Both the MoEF and MoWR told the NGT that they were “not responsible” for the damage to the floodplains, and that they should not be the ones to pay the fine. The ministries told NGT that they had “no role” in permitting the festival. “The DDA granted the permission. AOL conducted the event. We had no role to play and are not liable to pay for the damage,” the ministries said. HOW CAN MoEF and Delhi Govt and MoWR wash their hands off saying we have no responsibility? More shockingly, after admitting that he was approached for seeking permission for the World Culture Festival, which was bonafidely given to him. How can DDA claim “We were unaware about the size of the whole event at the time of granting permission,”?? Good that Sanjay Parikh, representing Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan said that Ravi Shankar was guilty of “scandalising” the court and should be held liable for criminal contempt of the court.

During May 11, 2017 hearing DDA admitted that while conducting a site visit in March this year, they found “no violations” to the conditions they had put down before the AoL while granting permission for the event. The NGT, meanwhile, pulled up the DDA for its comments on the court-appointed expert committee set up to assess the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains.  The court-appointed expert committee has said that it would cost over Rs 42 crore to undo the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains as a result of the festival. NGT has rightly asked: What on earth made you give permission (to AOL)? Similarly they could ask, on what basis have they concluded that there is no violation by AOL?

WETLANDS

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Karnataka 71 lakes across state fare badly on Water Quality Index 71 of the 77 lakes tested in Karnataka by the Pollution Control Board for quarterly water quality test in Feb/ March 2017 were found to be highly polluted, including all 38 of Bangalore. Six lakes that fared better were: Hullige tank and Hundikere lake in Raichur Pilikula lake in Mangaluru Vimanabhuthikere and Kunduvadakere in Davanagere Bhutanala lake in Vijayapura. Historian Arun Prasad of Discover Bengaluru said there were over 400 manmade lakes in Bengaluru during the time of the British which dwindled to 262 in the 1960s. By 1985, only 51 water bodies were left. Now here are hardly 38 that were included in this report, may be some more.

WATER OPTIONS

Maharashtra Black & Veatch to prepare recycled water masterplan for BMC As per EPC solutions provider Black & Veatch, it has bagged a contract from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to prepare a detailed master plan for recycled water. The recycled water master plan is Black & Veatch’s second project with the BMC in 12 months. The project, once commissioned, is likely to be one of India’s largest in terms of treatment capacity. If Mumbai does this seriously (properly treat and recycle the sewage), it wont need to go for any more fresh water supply than what it is already getting, and if it starts more seriously harvest rainwater and preserve its water bodies. But you do not need these fancy consultancy companies for that.

GROUND WATER

Tamil Nadu Govt against move to price groundwater for agriculture The State Govt does not favour the idea of pricing groundwater for agriculture. The government, which is fine-tuning its response to the model groundwater bill circulated by the Central government, feels that the text of the model bill provides scope for the idea, which, if translated into action, will only attract controversies. Though the text does not explicitly talk of agriculture, the sentence in question — “industrial or bulk groundwater use shall be priced,” which comes under the section 21, gives the impression that groundwater supplied by one farmer or the owner of an open well or bore well to another on a private basis will be covered. Tamil Nadu has OBJECTIONS to the draft Groundwater bill from the centre, some justified, but reluctance to decentralise the governance would not help.

Op-Ed India’s groundwater future is at stake by Esha Zaveri VERY strange to see Stanford Univ Post Doc fellow looking at ILR for GW recharge (rather than looking at cheaper and more viable options) and claiming that Cauvery Godavari link was completed in 2015! (when no such link is proposed, unless see means Godvari Krishna water transfer)

DROUGHT OPTIONS

Karnataka Farmers in drought-hit districts have increased crop yields A company called LEAF have managed to drought-proof the farmers who are not running losses and all the payments for their crop are promptly made to their banks. This is very interesting indeed, even though there are many questions if these companies will continue to provide honest returns to the farmers in longer term, among others. Also see Women on a mission to revive water bodies

TH09SOUTHGONDWELL

Telangana Ancient Gond wells yield water all year The water shortage in what was undivided Adilabad district is of comparatively recent origin, if one looks at the evidence of a few surviving open wells, which are over a century old. It makes it clear that the residents of the area, mainly people of tribal origin, like the Raj Gonds, who live between the Penganga and the Godavari, had a close connect with natural resources. These wells, known locally as ‘kui,’ yield water through the year, even in high altitude areas. One example is the well called kantam (perennially full), in Kanchanpalli village, in the Lingapur mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district. It serves the needs of 80 families and over 100 heads of cattle. Interesting example of traditional water harvesting system called KUI.

Kerala Reviving the lost ponds The Kochi district administration, led by Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla, have embarked on ‘100 ponds in 50 days’ project. This project is a follow-up of ‘Entekulam’, which was pioneered by former District Collector M G Rajamanickam. Under the ‘Entekulam’ project 53 ponds were revived. Safirulla expedited the process and, so far, 85 ponds have been revived in 37 days. The Collector added that around 20 years back the district had 2,500 ponds. Now only 600 remain.

Maharashtra Medieval aqueducts serve a thirsty city AMAZINGLY AWSOME write up on 400 years old water system of Aurangabad (incidentally, the infamous Daulatabad of Mohammad bin Tughlaq, but the water systems called Neher-e-Ambari and the Neher-e-Panchakki were developed much latter, about 300 years after Daulatabad incident by Malik Ambar, who himself has a fascinating story from being a slave in Africa to a ruler in Aurangabad) and how it still serves large number of people but how badly the city is treating it. On the contrary widening and deepening of streams and rivers continues in the name of Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan in Aurangabad.  

MONSOON 2017

IMD Monsoon likely to be better than forecast The MINT news report quotes IMD to say that there is lesser chance of El Nino, Better chance of Indian Ocean Dipole that neutralises El Nino. It quotes Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (of Germany) that monsoon will come on time. There is no official communication from IMD though. However, the FINE PRINT, as revealed in the ET report below is revealing. IMD chief says he is not able to say how much probability has increased for better rains. In fact this report says that five of the eight international climate models still indicate that the tropical pacific ocean may exceed El Nino thresholds during the second half of 2017, says Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Skymet says there is still 50% chance of El Nino formation. IN THAT CASE, WHY DID THE IMD CHIEF DECIDE TO MAKE THIS STATEMENT THAT HE NEITHER CAN PUT NUMBERS ON, NOR WAS IT SCHEDULED, NOR HAS IMD WEBSITE ANY SUCH STATEMENT? IF IT WAS ISSUED TO GIVE A KICK TO THE SENSEX, IT DID SUCCEED.

AGRICULTURE

National Food grain production set to hit all time high India’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 is estimated to be 273.38 MT, up from 265.04 MT in 2013-14 and 8.7% up from previous year. Rice Production is likely to be 97.44 MT, up from 96.64 MT last year. Wheat production is likely to be 109.15 MT, up from previous high of 106.65 in 2013-14; pulses production will be 22.4 MT, up from previous high of 19.25 MT in 2013-14.

ENERGY OPTIONS

National  Solar power tariff continues free fall; hits new low of Rs 2.62 a unit Solar power tariff continues free fall; hits new low of Rs 2.62 a unitNew Delhi: Continuing the fall of solar tariffs in the country, 250 Megawatt capacity of Bhadla phase IV solar park has received the lowest ever bids at Rs 2.62 per unit. Phelan Energy Group and Avaada Power Private Limited have bagged 50 MW and 100 MW respectively at Rs 2.62 per unit while SBG Cleantech – a joint venture between SoftBank, Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn has bagged 100 MW at Rs 2.63 a unit. As per another news Solar power tariffs in India have fallen to a new record low of Rs 2.44 per unit in the just concluded bidding for Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park in Rajasthan.

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According to another report, since the Govt took charge, solar power capacity had grown from 2,600 mw to 12,200 mw, producing 20 billion units of electricity. As per Piyush Goyal, the power minister, a country that makes 1,200 billion units, what is 20 billion units? Can you call it the cause of the problems that the thermal sector or any other sector is having? So it’s all excuses and it’s a naysayer philosophy – whatever good is happening, criticise it, Solar is India’s energy security in the long run at low cost. India has the world’s most liberal regime for foreign direct investment but countries that were gaining from the vast Indian market were making one-sided gains.

Bridge to India also finds that India’s power demand growth may not keep pace with the expansion in solar energy capacity, which may slow down capacity addition from the renewable source in 2018 before it recovers in the following year. Solar Energy future may go down before coming up; some facts

– Solar capacity addition will be a record 7.7 GW in 2017, but will fall to 6.5 GW the following year. It will recover to 7.5 GW in 2019, before scaling new heights of 8 GW in 2020 and 8.3 GW in 2021.

– Until end-March 2017, 12.29 GW had been installed, including 5.5 GW in 2016-17.

– India will have only 44 GW of installed solar capacity by 2021.

SC stays trading of renewable energy certificates The Supreme Court has stayed trading in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), whose prices have been reduced by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). REC-generating companies had filed the petition in the court against the CERC action. The court on Monday (May 08, 2017) also stayed the new price regime introduced by the CERC, said sources privy to the hearing. The petitioners had submitted the unsold stocks of close to 10 million RECs, which enable trading in renewable energy, would not be cleared at the low prices. There are around 1,200 projects in the REC mechanism with a capacity of 5,383 Mw. Following reduction in price of RECs by CERC in March 2017, the Supreme Court has put a stay on trading of REC. Not clear how this will be resolved now. 

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal  2 Indian hydro developers in line to get forest clearance The Govt is all set to give the environmental green light to two Indian hydropower developers to acquire forest land to build their projects for which they will have to pay a fee. The Forest Ministry will be providing forest clearance to the developers of the 900 MW Upper Karnali and 900 MW Arun-3 hydropower projects. The fee will be decided later when the ministry fixes the rates for different types of land belonging to different eco-systems. Upper Karnali and Arun 3 may get environment – forest clearance in Nepal.

Bhutan Joint project assess Bhutan’s hydropower system To investigate the current status of hydropower plants and power transmission network, two softwares have been developed under the University-Business Partnership Project between Germany and Bhutan. The project investigates the current status of hydropower plants and if possible works towards the stability improvement of Bhutan’s Hydropower Projects through modelling and simulation research. Germany helps assess Bhutan Hydropower projects.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Oroville Dam With all internal sensors broken, no breach warning? Should be alarming: An earthquake induced leak or if an internal erosion defect develops, deep within the earthen fill zones at Oroville dam, DWR would have no warning, nor the ability to do an immediate slope stability assessment, as the numerous dam’s internal Piezometers are non-functional or dead. FERC has been asking DWR to fix this issue for years, as it’s a major Dam Safety Issue. Why hasn’t DWR responded? Why does the tallest earthen dam in the U.S.A. have zero Piezometers to detect any threat to a potential internal instability to warn citizens of a pending breach?

Meanwhile mayors and county leaders in a strongly worded letter to Gov have said that California is putting communities downstream in danger of flooding with the way it runs the now-crippled Oroville Dam. The letter signed by mayors of the city of Oroville and six other communities downstream, county leaders, state lawmakers and others comes in the wake of a Feb spillway emergency at the dam that forced the evacuation of 188,000 people. This is a serious charge.

California San Diego will recycle sewage into drinking water Soon San Diegans will be sipping and bathing in water recycled from sewage. A deal between local environmental groups and city officials to pursue a plan known as Pure Water San Diego, in lieu of upgrades to an aging wastewater treatment facility, seems to be coming to fruition after more than two decades of brainstorming, formal planning and small-scale testing of water purification technologies. The Pure Water project is expected to break ground next year and ultimately generate a third of San Diego’s drinking water by 2035. San Diego will treat its sewage to drinking water quality and than use it for potable purposes.

Albania Court stops dam project on Vjosa river Albanian Administrative Court on May 02, 2017 in Tirana announced their decision against the construction of the projected hydropower plant “Poçem”: for the time being, the dam must not be constructed. According to the Court ruling, the basis of the construction licence, namely the EIA as well as the public consultation process, was highly deficient. The Vjosa ist the last big wild river in Europe, outside Russia. The Albanian Govt commissioned a Turkish company with the construction of a large dam. The Vjosa case was the first-ever environmental lawsuit in Albania. The Ministry of Environment and the Turkish construction company have 15 days to appeal. A second-instance decision can be expected by September/October 2017.

In an ANOTHER WELCOME COURT DECISION (its in Spanish), THIS TIME FROM COLUMBIA Colombian Constitutional Court : This is a decision that the Colombian Constitutional Court offer protection to the Atrato River​ and guarantee the fundamental rights of the communities that inhabit its ​banks from a new perspective called biocultural rights.​ This is a very important decision, Under this new paradigm, the Court has reasoned that the most effective way to protect ethnic communities’ rights is through biodiversity conservation and ecosystemic restoration.​

CLIMATE CHANGE

Africa A new dam on the Nile reveals threats from warming According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, Climate change could play a role in exacerbating water conflict in Africa, likely worsening geopolitical wrangling over issues like the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam, a 6,450-megawatt hydropower project that’s nearing completion just miles from the Ethiopia-Sudan border, has also been a point of contention in the region. Scientists estimate a 50 percent increase in the flow variation from year to year, meaning that the basin could be flooded one year and experience a drought the next, along with a 10 to 15 percent increase in the annual flow of the river. It’s surprising that these kind of articles look at only one storage option: Large dam. WHY do they not look at other storage options?

Paris-Agreement-Reuters

Study Paris 1.5 degree Celsius target may be smashed by 2026 Global temperatures could break through the 1.5 degree Celsius barrier negotiated at the Paris conference as early as 2026, say scientists who predict that a slow-moving, natural climate driver could cause a sharp acceleration in global warming over the next decade. If true, this should worry us-The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) – a powerful natural climate lever – may have moved into a positive phase. Since 1999, the IPO has been in a negative phase but consecutive record-breaking warm years in 2014, 2015 and 2016 have led climate researchers to suggest this may have changed. Scientists at the University of Melbourne in Australia showed that a positive IPO would likely produce a sharp acceleration in global warming over the next decade. Global temperatures could break through the 1.5 degree Celsius barrier negotiated at the Paris conference as early as 2026. Even if the IPO remains in a negative phase, our research shows we will still likely see global temperatures break through the 1.5 degrees Celsius guardrail by 2031.

Report Link between wild weather and Climate Change One of the trickiest aspects of climate science is figuring out if a particular heat wave, flood, or drought was made more likely or severe by climate change. But researchers are getting far better at untangling the relationship between extreme weather and global warming. WELCOME INDEED: Researchers are getting far better at untangling the relationship between extreme weather and global warming.

ENVIRONMENT

National  Rs 1.9 lakh cr of bank finance to power sector may turn bad Close to Rs 1.9 lakh crore of bank money used to finance private sector coal-fired power capacities of around 45 Gigawatt is facing the risk of turning bad. India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) feels small private power companies that used the fund would be badly hit and their survival would be at stake in 2017-18. “Under the current scenario, the survival of such players is not possible,” it said. India’s Power sector continues to have surplus and bleak future.

– Close to Rs 1.9 lakh crore of bank money used to finance private sector coal-fired power capacities of around 45 Gigawatt is facing the risk of turning bad. “Under the current scenario, the survival of such players is not possible,”

– this 45GW of private sector coal-based capacity running at sub-50% capacity utilisation has been hit hard due to lack of power purchase agreements for their entire capacity.

– Earlier, the private sector kept a part of the capacity untied due to high short-term prices. Capacity utilisation of private sector’s coal-based plants fell to 56.3% in 9MFY17 from 83.9% in FY10. As short term power prices are likely to remain benign and discoms’ unwillingness to sign purchase agreements, these capacities are unlikely to see an increase in generation

– Plant capacity utilisation of coal-fired units is expected to decline further in FY18 and rise thereafter, though they would continue to remain sub-65% until 2021-22

– India added nearly 115GW of coal-based capacity over FY11-9MFY17. However, demand growth did not keep pace with such capacity addition. This has put pressure on the capacity utilisation of coal-based power plants.

– 50GW of capacity has a high probability of getting commissioned over FY18-FY22. Central and state power utilities account for 60% of the 50GW capacity, followed by the private sector (40%). Purchase agreements have been signed for the capacity belonging to central and state power utilities. This will put further pressure on the coal-based capacity of private power generators. Also see, India will not allow power firms from countries where Indian companies are banned

North East Regional consultation on open water fisheries development The ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CIFRI) of Barrackpore in West Bengal organised a regional consultation on ‘Open Water Fisheries Development in the North East Region’ in the city recently. A total of 40 delegates, including scientists and researchers from ICAR-CIFRI, participated in the consultation. Dr BK Bhattacharjya, Head of ICAR-CIFRI Regional Centre, Guwahati, welcomed the participants and sought inputs from the delegates on the roadmap for open water fisheries development in the North East prepared by the institute, before publishing it. So ICAR-CIFRI Regional Centre has developed a roadmap for open water fisheries development in the North East.

goldman

Goa Fishermen reject plans to make Goa a coal hub It seems to be a national record of sorts. A series of environmental clearance-related public hearings held in Goa last week on whether the administration should permit the construction of facilities to allow large amounts of coal to be imported and transported through the coastal state, took eight days to complete after being extended by an unprecedented five days. The hearings are probably the longest in the history of environmental clearances in India. Thanks, indeed, Nihar Gokhale for this excellent report. Amazing that Nitin Gadkari opposed the public hearing, and good to know that SC overturned that decision and now so many people came forward to puncture holes in the fraudulent WAPCOS EIA and Public hearing was extended to RECORD EIGHT DAYS, unprecedented in India.

Report Protection of Natural Resources means Protection of Humanity The Goldman Environment (Green Nobel) Prize winner of 2017, Prafulla Samatara remembered Rabi Ray, the founder Member of Lokshakti Abhijan and gave him the credit for the award.  Addressing the media he said, “Rabi Ray was the inspiration and motivation behind my social activism.” He is of the view that this Golden Prize is the indicator of the victory of the tribals who are fighting and scarifying their life to save their motherland from the greedy corporates. This prize recognizes the importance of protection and conservation of Niyamgiri Hills and of Dongaria Kandhs.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 01 May 2017

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