DRP News Bulletin 22 May 2017 (SOLVE SILTATION PROBLEMS OF GANGA OR REMOVE FARAKKA DAM TO REVIVE GANGA: NITISH KUMAR)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar again has urged the central govt to remove the Farakka barrage in West Bengal and make a countrywide policy on silt management for letting river Ganga to flow freely.

“Siltation is destroying Ganga’s ecology and health. It’s due to heavy deposits of silt on the riverbed that stream of the river is being badly affected,” Kumar said at a two-day national seminar on ‘Obstacles in the Incessant Flow of the Ganga’.

Speaking on the occasion, Swami Avimukteshwara Anand criticised Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati for doing absolutely nothing for the cause of the river Ganga and said she seems more interested in her chair rather  than the river. He also criticised  Prime Minister Modi for claiming that he is son  of Ganga, but doing nothing positive for the river. Swami ji said Nitin Gadkari seems bent on further destroying the river in the name of National Waterway.

Addressing the seminar Nitish Kukar said that Bihar’s demand for the framing of national policy on desiltation of the Ganga and clearance of silt in the state is not a political issue, as the matter is related to larger environmental and biodiversity issues facing the people.

He added, “Concrete steps have to be taken to ensure incessant flow of the Ganga. Otherwise, cleanliness of the river is not possible.” Referring to the need to protect biodiversity, he said conservation of the Ganga dolphins is dependent on the cleanliness of its water. He added the Farakka barrage constructed across the river in West Bengal has led to slow flow of water between Buxar to Bhagalpur, and consequent annual flood and waterlogging during the monsoon.

Nitish recalled the devastating flood that the state had witnessed in the Ganga basin last year and said Bihar had spent Rs 1,058 crore over the last five years to prevent soil erosion. He appealed to the Centre to frame a sound policy on silt management, stressing that it should be prepared by making on the spot survey and assessment of the prevailing situation. Nitish said even the report of the committee headed by Madhav Chitale had accepted the problem of siltation facing the Ganga.

“The cleanliness of river Ganga is not possible without its incessant flow, so people have to come forward to raise the issue as the stream of the river is becoming weaker in Bihar. It’s the cascading effect of Farakka barrage that incidents of soil erosion have rose manifold which can be gauged by the fact that Rs 1,058 crore has been spent on soil erosion management in the last 5 years,” Kumar said.

Inauguration photo

“We are here not to advocate for dismantling the Farakka barrage, rather we have gathered here to find out the ways to make Ganga incessant by making it completely silt free. We don’t believe in keeping the silt away as our objective is to give way to silt and that can be done only if river Ganga is ‘allowed’ to flow freely,” the Chief Minister said.

Within 24 hours of Bihar CM reiterating the state’s demand for a national policy on desiltation of the Ganga, the Union water resources ministry issued a PIB Press Release containing Chitale Commitee Recommendations. The Chitale committee on Desiltation  of Ganga, however was already on MoWR website several weeks back and  MoWR seemed to be trying to mislead the media by brining out a Press Release on it on May 19, 2017. The Chitale Committee report has recommended a slew of measures, but has refrained from addressing the key issue of what is to be done about the silt accumulated behind the Farakka Dam. Its recommendations include study of reach wise sediment transport processes along with establishing annual sediment budgets to guide de-silting activities, Preparation of annual reports (Sand registry) describing the previous de-silting/ dredging activity and a technical institute may be entrusted to conduct the sediment budget, morphological and flood routing studies that would examine and confirm the necessity of the de-silting of the reach under consideration.

Bihar’s Water Resources Minister also slammed Union Water Minister Uma Bharti for her claims that Farakka Barrage was not a “problem”. Uma Bharti in a recent interview had reportedly stated “Farakka Barrage is not the problem. However, during the two-day conference, experts were unanimously of the view that “Dredging of National Waterways-1 is increasing erosion in Bihar. The project should be put on hold until a scientific study of impact of dredging on erosion is done”.

The Delhi seminar is being organized in pursuance of the Patna Declaration adopted at an international conference on the same issue on Feb 25 and 26, 2017. As per the declaration, the main obstacle in the “incessant flow of the Ganga” is the unresolved problem of siltation in the 525 km stretch of the river, caused by the four-decade old Farakka barrage in West Bengal. The Patna Declaration demanded that a Ganga River and Basin Rejuvenation Council should be formed as an interim steering committee consisting of various renowned experts from different disciplines.

Experts, present on the occasion, criticised the Narendra Modi govt for the excessive exploitation of Ganga and not understanding the river’s hydrology and doing NOTHING about AVIRAL GANGA. Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, eminent environmentalist Professor GD Agrawal, social activist Anna Hazare, religious leader Swami Abhimukteshwaranand, retired Supreme Court judge V Gopala Gowda, social activist Subba Rao and water activist Rajendra Singh were also present at the event. The seminar was organized by Water Resources Department, Govt of Bihar at the IIC, New Delhi on May 18-19, 217. A half an hour film on the condition of the river from Buxar to Farakka to highlight the problem of siltation will also be screened. Also see, Panipost report on बिहार गाद संकट, समाधान, पहल और चुनौतियां लेखक: अरुण तिवारी

HYDRO POWER

Uttarakhand Hydropower to cost more  As per an official the govt has cleared a hike in power tariff in the hill state. He said the new govt has given the green signal to change the parameters of royalty and cess levied on the nine big hydropower projects in the state which produce 1252 MW of electricity. The power tariff on electricity produced from these projects costing Rs 2 per unit till now will have a cess of 30 paise and a royalty of 10 paise per unit. The govt has said projects which can levy the new tariff have to be at least ten years old. Nine hydropower projects come under this ambit while the nine-year-old Manerbhali project is out of it.

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Landslide near Vishanu Prayag HEP, several tourists stuck The Char Dham Yatra to Badrinath got disrupted on May 19, 2017 afternoon after a massive landslide occurred at Hathi Parvat, near Vishnuprayag, about 9 km from Joshimath in Chamoli district. About 13,500 tourists are stuck, according to preliminary estimates. Incidentally, the debris brought down by the landslide affected almost 150 meters of area and also damaged 60 meters of Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway. However, no pilgrim sustained any injuries in the landslide. In 2015, about 300 pilgrims from Odisha were stranded in the area following series of landslides and heavy rainfall. Landslide at Hathi parvat has become regular phenomena. The location is upstream Vishnu Prayag and between Vishnugad HEP project head and power station. The incident has dumped tons of debris in the Alaknanda river. Cleaning processes will also do the same thus putting voluminous debris in the river which may cause damage to the river and downstream areas during monsoon season. Also see, भूस्‍खलन से बदरीनाथ हाईवे बंद, 25 हजार तीर्थयात्री फंसे

MATU Press Release लोगो का जीवन खतरे में: बांध कंपनी और सत्ता मौन 16 महिनो से वाडिया संस्थान, देहरादून, उत्तराखंड की रिर्पोट पर कोई कार्यवाही नही हुई। विश्व स्तर की जीवीके कंपनी की सहायक अलकनन्दा हाइड्रो पावर कॉर्पाेरेशन द्वारा अलकनंदा नदी पर बनाया गया श्रीनगर बांध से प्रभावितों पर बांध कपंनी मौन और सरकार सुस्त दिखाई देती है। श्रीनगर बांध से विद्युतघर की ओर जाने वाली 3-250 किलोमीटर लम्बी खुली नहर जिसे पावर चैनल कहा जाता है कई स्थानों से क्षतिग्रस्त है। 2015 में मानसून के बाद पावर चैनल के रिसाव के कारण इस चैनल और नदी के बीच रहने वाले मगंसू गांव, जिसमें ज्यादातर दलित परिवार रहते है, के निवासियों का जीवन खतरे मे है। जनदवाब से पूर्व विधायक श्री मंत्री प्रसाद नैथानी ने वाडिया संस्थान को इस पर रिपोर्ट देने के लिये कहा था। रिपोर्ट 30 दिसंबर, 2015 में आ गई। जिसके बाद बहुत से प्रश्न उठे है। जीवीके कंपनी ने वाडिया संस्थान {विग} कि इस रिर्पोट पर क्यों कार्यवाही नही की? पूर्व विधायक श्री मंत्री प्रसाद नैथानी ने 30 दिसंबर 2015 को रिर्पोट आने के बाद सत्ता मे रहने पर भी क्यों कार्यवाही नही की? मंत्री जी मौन क्यों रहे? जबकि रिपोर्ट के निष्कर्ष बहुत ही गंभीर है और सिफारिशेें को तो बिल्कुल ही नजरअंदाज नही किया जा सकता है।

Arunachal Pradesh HEPs only if communities agree: Govt spokesperson In a rare meeting, the govt spokesperson, representatives from hydro power department, NHPC, projects affected people, teachers from Rajiv Gandhi University, activists came face to face to discuss on hydro power in Arunachal. The symposium was organized by the Arunachal Press Club on May 14, 2017 at Banquet Hall, Itanagar. Govt Spokesperson Pasang D Sona said that hydro power will be harnessed only if communities agree and not otherwise. Good to see this kind of meeting, but the officials seem to have come with their pre conceived notions.

Report Hydropower as an energy source need to find the right balance Tapping hydropower is considered a key priority area in view of India’s growing energy requirement. However, every stakeholder needs to contemplate the impact that hydropower dams would have on the environment, and also the potential impact of climate change on dams, both before and after their construction. Several countries, in order to mitigate climate change, have turned to exploring hydropower sources. Though hydropower is a clean source of energy, yet it can have a serious negative impact on the climate.

Studies on the status of GHG emission from reservoirs are ongoing. Although the findings of hydropower’s contribution to GHG emissions remain consistent, none of these emissions are included in global greenhouse inventories. The second point of concern is the impact of climate change, where it is likely to alter river discharge, which in turn impacts the availability of water resources, water regularity and hydropower generation.

Major rivers like the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra are fed by snow and glacier melt. But the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas is likely to alter the pattern of river flow, resulting in the disruption of hydropower production. A one per cent reduction in the flow can reduce electricity output by roughly three per cent. Moreover, one cannot ignore the economic risks of investing in a hydropower project under the prevailing conditions of climate change.

Hydropower is projected to account for 20 per cent of India’s planned emissions cuts. Dr Schwanghart says scientific consensus on climate change indicates those emissions are themselves jeopardising hydropower. The massive expansion of hydropower projects reflects the nexus between climate change, water resources and energy production. The fast-growing economies, such as India, require reliable power sources to sustain growth. So climate change increasingly urges nations to use renewable energies, 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, to meet environmental targets and to electrify the developing nation.

While hydropower projects are critical for economic growth and development, it is equally important to fully assess its potential social and environmental impact in the long-term. The challenge lies in finding the right balance between the need for rapid development and the necessity of protecting the environment. Good to see somewhat balanced view of hydropower by someone from IDSA.

DAMS 

Maharashtra Desilting of Pavana dam begins Silt has been accumulating in the dam for around 50 years, and was not removed till last year. This led to a decrease in the water storage capacity of the dam, which normally would store around 9.67 TMC. Desilting was carried out in the dam for the first time last year. A total of 39,200 cubic metres of silt was removed from the dam due to which the storage capacity increased by 3.92 lakh litre. The dam was built around 1970 on Pavana river. At the moment, there is 2.66 TMC of water in the dam. Desilting of Pavana dam near Pune started last year, continues this year, now.

IRRIGATION

Centre Did not deny funds for Gujarat’s SAUNI project The Centre on May 16, 2017 said it has not rejected the Gujarat govt’s plea seeking funds for the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) project. The Union Water Ministry issued a clarification after a media report claimed that CWC had rejected the state’s request for funds for the project on technical grounds. The ministry said the report was “incorrect” and that it had recommended the SAUNI-II project to the Department of Economic Affairs for obtaining external assistance. The media report had also claimed that the state govt had decided to bear the entire project cost on its own. Launched by Modi in September 2012, the project aims at transferring excess water from the Sardar Sarovar dam across the Narmada river through a network of 1125-km-long pipelines to fill up 115 dams in Gujarat’s parched Saurashtra region. So now SAUNI-II project of Gujarat to be funded by the World Bank?

Similarly, the CWC may have denied reports that it has rejected a Gujarat govt request for funds for the high-profile SAUNI on the ground that there is not enough water to divert Narmada waters to Saurashtra. However, the fact is, SAUNI’s basic criteria, of sending Narmada’s a whopping 1 million acre feet (MAF) of waters – over and above 9 MAF allocated to Gujarat from Narmada basin by the inter-state Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award – to the parched land of the Saurashtra region was rejected three decades ago as unviable.

Initially announced by Modi as Gujarat CM in Sept 2012, ahead of the state assembly polls in December that year, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd’s (SSNNL’s) Narmada Planning Group (NPG) first outlined the SAUNI concept in a report titled ‘Planning for Prosperity’ in 1987. Ironically, Modi re-inaugurated SAUNI’s two different phases as PM last year on August 30 in and then this year on April 16. Another rejection reality of SAUNI project of Gujarat Govt, and that of Mr Modi.

Maharashtra Govt wants 50% sugarcane crop on drip irrigation in 2 years A report on sugar price policy for 2015-16 by union agriculture ministry had highlighted that Maharashtra’s sugarcane cultivation, which is less than 4% of the total cropped area, consumes 70% of water needed for irrigation. Sugarcane fields cover 10 lakh hectares across the state. But only 2.5 lakh hectares have been shifted on drip irrigation do far, while the rest of the crop on 7.25 lakh hectares is watered using the traditional flood irrigation. Experts said flood irrigation consumes three times the water required for drip irrigation. 2,100 litres of water is used to produce of a kilogram of sugar against 822 litres in Bihar. The average cost of drip irrigation set for a hectare is Rs85,000 , for which we chalked out a plan to disburse loans at 2% interest. The govt and sugar factories will bear the remaining share of interest at 4% and 1.25% respectively. The farmers will have to clear the loan in five years. WILL DRIP IRRIGATION HELP REDUCE THE WATER CONSUMPTION FOR SUGARCANE? NO. There are parts of Maharashtra where there should be NO SUGARCANE AT ALL.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (Triadvisor.com)

Op-Ed Why Ken-Betwa link may have to wait  by Jay Mazoomdaar The validity of Ken-Betwa clearances, if issued at this stage, may not stand legal scrutiny. That is because the recommendations of the NBWL and the EAC, in fact, call for a fresh project report, which, in turn, will require a fresh assessment of its potential impact.three gatekeepers in the Environment Ministry, the National Board For Wildlife (NBWL) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) recommended the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) for clearance in 2016. Now with a favourable report tabled at a meeting of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) last week, the stage is set for statutory green nods for the project. Excellent article highlighting why Ken Betwa Project needs fresh impact assessments and other studies and hence fresh EIA, PUblic Hearings and appraisal.

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.

Similarly the Indian Express report of May 18, 2017 Stage set for forest nod This Indian Express report has many inaccuracies, it claims “the project has already received environment clearance”, but there is no environment clearance letter issued so far. It says “the project involves diversion of 4141 ha of PTR” which is clearly wrong even going by official documents. Actual impact that the statement hides is additional. The mandate of the new committee could not have been to “look into all unresolved issues”, considering the basis of reopening of the issue was only the remark of competent authority after the March 30 FAC meeting. Just a few issues. One wishes such issues were reported along with some of the key contradictions in the facts, processes and decisions.

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Telangana watchful of Andhra move to construct barrage Irrigation authorities of Telangana are closely watching the moves of the Andhra Pradesh govt after its proposal to construct a new project with a storage capacity 1.7 tmc on Krishna River on the eastern outskirts of Vijayawada city. AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu recently wrote to Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharati bypassing the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) for permission. The project will come up 12 km downstream the existing Prakasam Barrage.  The AP govt is already drawing more water that its allotted share from the Pattiseema and Pothireddypadu head regulators. AP’s response to re-engineering and re-designing of projects, including the Palamuru and Rangareddy lift irrigation schemes by Telangana is still fresh in the memory of the Telangana leadership. Will further destroy the Krishna River?

Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand 2nd meet on management & development of water resources The second meeting between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand regarding Management and Development of Water Resources under the provisions of UP Re-Organisation Act, 2000 was held on May 08, 2017. Regarding distribution of water resources assets and infrastructure, it was informed by the representatives of States of UP and Uttarakhand that 37 canals have been transferred to Uttarakhand by Uttar Pradesh. Regarding constitution of Ganga Management Board a draft notification based on broad agreements as arrived at the meeting has already been circulated to both the States.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Centre IWAI to study impact of waterways on dolphins The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has decided to conduct an impact study on the Bihar-Jharkhand Gangetic stretch. The National Waterways (NW)-1 project covers two significant aquatic wildlife sanctuaries—Kashi Turtle Sanctuary in Varanasi and Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary in Bhagalpur. Though the IWAI has got permission from the UP wildlife board for ship navigation through the Kashi Turtle Sanctuary, the Bihar wildlife board is yet to allow the same through the Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary. Wildlife researchers have claimed that navigation of heavy ships on the Ganga would be a potential threat to the survival of dolphins in the sanctuary as well as on the entire Bihar and Jharkhand stretch. Let us see how credible this study is. The impact has already started with the dredging going on for several months, as SANDRP blog reported many months ago. Also see, Biodiversity profile of Ganga being reconstructed  

RIVERS

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SANDRP Blog Jharkhand Rivers Profile Jharkhand State stands on a hilly undulating plateau characterized by predominantly tropical forests and tribal settlements. The total geographical area of the State is 79.70 lakh hectares. The state falls under the Tropical Monsoon climatic region. Presently there are 24 districts in Jharkhand. The population of the State is 32.96 million. Marvelous eye catching rare geological/geomorphological features like rejuvenated meandering and deep cutting young rivers like Damodar are the uniqueness in the State.

SANDRP Blog Odisha Rivers Profile To come out with an overall statement on the health of the rivers the scores of the rivers have been added together and the rivers have been ranked. Rushikulya comes out as the most distressed river. It already is water scarce and also has a heavy pollution loan though in a relatively lesser stretch. Rushikuly is followed by Bahuda, another comparatively smaller river. And the list of the stressed rivers with the most stressed river on the top is like this. And this list confirms to the overall understanding of the health of the rivers.

Maharashtra River March removes 1.47-lakh kg garbage from Poisar river River March a citizens’ group comprising more than 150 people, over five Sundays — from April 9 to April 30 River March removed 1.47 lakh kg of garbage from a stretch of the river at Kranti Nagar in Kandivli. As another report around 2,100 MLD of sewage is dumped into the Arabian Sea and the creeks in Mumbai city. As per report, around 25% of the city’s waste, which comes from the slums, is not connected to the 1,915km sewer network and goes straight into nullahs and creeks. All previous STPs are reported as working inefficiently and the BMC plans to spend Rs 10,000 crore to set up 7 new STPs at the same locations where the existing ones stand.

Karnataka Cauvery suffers as tourism and urbanisation flourish Environmentalists say that the protection of their Kodagu region is directly linked to the survival of the Cauvery, whose water flow is already showing signs of dwindling, and faces extinction in the long run. Detailed piece that gives various sides of the issues related to Coorg/ Kodagu, the Cauvery catchment and how that is being destroyed.

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24-hour deadline to resolve Gurpur pollution issue In the wake of pollution of Gurpur Phalguni river at Malavoor dam, residents of Malavoor, Thokur, Kenjar and members of the local unit of National Environment Care Federation have issued a deadline of 24 hours to the district administration to solve the issue and prevent local industries from further releasing effluents into the river. The water at Malavoor dam and surrounding areas areas has been polluted with effluents and chemicals discharged from MRPL and Baikampady industrial areas.

On May 19, 2017, Mayor Kavitha Sanil said that the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) does not release effluents from its sewage treatment plants to Gurupur River. Mayor, who is also a member of KSPCB, suggested the Board officials to take action against industries in the nearby areas that actually pollute Gurupur River. Commissioner Nazeer said that the MCC treats the sewage from Pachanady promptly and the treated water is being supplied to water plants in Pilikula Nisargadhama.

It may be recalled that the water in Gurupur River has been contaminated and as a result large number of fish died. Similarly, few days ago, three cows also died after consuming water from a stream that connects the river. A foul smell also emanate from the river in the area downstream of Malavoor dam, which was inaugurated recently. Mayor of Mangaluru City Corporation denies charges of untreated city sewage as source of Gurupur river pollution. Surprisingly the allegations were put by officials of State Pollution Control Board.

Manipur Fishery as an agenda for Barak Festival 2017 Through this write-up, I would like to humbly appeal the state govt to think, promote and encourage the villagers to take up fishery along the tributaries of Barak River. This will not only serve as an alternative source of livelihood but also as a means of regenerating nature. Without follow up action, Barak Festival will be just another waste of time and money. This festival should not be a mere occasion of enjoyment for the rich and the educated people of the state. The benefit of Barak Festival must reach to the River, the poor and illiterate villagers. The article raises important points in the context of proposed Barak River Festival.

Bihar मुक्ति की आस में मुक्तिदायिनी फल्गु प्रशासनिक लापरवाही के कारण फल्गु के किनारों पर उट्टालिकाएं खड़ी कर दी गयी हैं और फल्गु से रेत निकालने का धंधा जोरों पर है। रेत निकालने के लिये सरकार बाजाब्ता टेंडर निकालती है, लेकिन टेंडर की शर्तों की अनदेखी करते हुए भारी पैमाने पर रेत निकाला जा रहा है। शहर का हजारों लीटर गंदा पानी भी नदी में ही बहाया जा रहा है। फल्गु का इतिहास भले ही गौरवशाली रहा हो, लेकिन इसका वर्तमान बेहद धुमिल है और अगर हालात यही रहे, तो एक दिन इस नदी की बची-खुची पहचान भी खत्म हो जायेगी। 400 मीटर चौड़ी इस नदी के दोनों किनारों पर दर्जनों अवैध मकान बना दिये गये हैं जिससे कई जगहों पर इसके घाट विलुप्त हो गये हैं।

NARMADA NBA ‘Dave was not allowed to protect Narmada dam oustees’  Noted activists Medha Patkar and Prafulla Samantara believe that late Environment Minister Anil Dave was perhaps not allowed the space to act on his ideas to protect the displaced people of the river dam project. Condoling Dave’s demise, Patkar, said that maybe he was not given the due space and role in the latest Narmada Sewa Yatra. However, Patkar also lamented that Dave did not take a position on the dam construction.

As per another media report quoting official figures, top anti-dam activist Medha Patkar has said, 8,200 families to be evicted will be from Badwani district and 6,132 families from district Dhar, apart from a few families from Khargone district.

Calling these figures are an “underestimates”, in an email alert to Counterview, Patkar says, “All this is being done without even full compliance with the latest order of Supreme Court that directs complete rehabilitation and vacating the lands on receiving the cash packages by farmers.” Yet, she says, “The police and revenue officials are visiting one village after another with drone cameras to photograph long distance visuals of the areas to be vacated.

Pointing out that all this is not proving to be easy for the state’s officials, Patkar says, “They are facing questions and wrath of people who are not ready to move out without all rehabilitation and entitlement.” To give expression to this wrath, Patkar says, her organization, NBA has decided to hold a three-day “Save Narmada, Save Life” yatra, starting at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on June 5, and ending at Vadodara, Gujarat, on June 7.” Also see,  Why Anil Madhav Dave could not prove his environmental credentials

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Gujarat Sabarmati may now garner Rs 6,000 cr for hotels, malls About 12.5 million sq feet of land for development is up for grabs for private developers and corporate houses. They can construct offices, commercial complexes, hospitality projects or residential towers. The project is stretched across 22 km, 11 km on each side of the river. Of the 2.25 million sq metres of land, only 14.5 per cent, or about 326,730 sq metres, is planned to be sold for private development, allowing development on 12.5 million sq feet for private sector participation. Real face of Sabarmati River Front Development: “a skyline of hotels, malls and corporate offices… to generate Rs 6000 crores.”

Also see, Water pilferage rampant along Narmada canal in Saurashtra The Narmada canal is being drained by unauthorized diversion of water on a mammoth scale. Estimates suggest that a third of the water in some canals is illegally drawn by farmers.  Along the 117-km Morbi branch canal, hundreds of diesel pumps furiously lift water into adjoining farms. While most farmers along the canal put pipes into the canal bed from the top, others have drilled holes, piercing through the canal lining and laid underground pipelines to their fields. It’s AMAZING that media calls the farmers of Saurashtra taking water from Narmada Canal as Pilferage, but do not use that term when Ahmedabad, Sabarmati, Vadodara and industries take Narmada water for which there was no allocation!

Madhya Pradesh PM deplores “exploitation” of rivers for “vested interest” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 15, 2017 voiced concern over “exploitation” of rivers for “vested interest” which resulted in many of them drying up. He was addressing the concluding function of ‘Namami Devi Narmade Sewa Yatra’, in Anuppur district. I could not find a single step mentioned in this entire report that would help the cause of the river, while there are several (e.g. Sardar Sarovar Dam) that are and will be killing the river. Wonder which vested interests PM has in mind.

WHAT A CLAIM. The CM of MP, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the Narmada will be made one of the cleanest rivers in the world through people’s participation. Stating that the River Narmada has been a life-giver for centuries, the PM said that in recent times, the Narmada has been brutally exploited. AND WHAT CAN ONE SAY TO PM, EXCEPT ASK, WHAT HAS HE AND HIS GUJARAT GOVT BEEN DOING?

AMAZING: PM’s words (incidentally his govt in Gujarat and centre as also Shivraj Singh Chauhan govt in MP and his predecessors have been doing everything to destroy the river and continue to strive to do it NOW, completely unnecessarily, close the gates of Narmada Dam and destroy the river and thousands of people) on Narmada:

– मां नर्मदा से जितना लूट सकते थे लूटते रहे। अपने स्‍वार्थवश अपनी आवश्‍यकता के अनुसार मां नर्मदा की तो परवाह नहीं की, हमने अपनी परवाह जरूरी की। मन में वो अधिकार भाव था कि मैं मां नर्मदा पर तो मेरा अधिकार है, मैं उसको जैसे चाहूं वैसे उसका उपभोग कर सकता हूं

– हिन्‍दुस्‍तान में कई नदियां हैं, नक्‍शे पर निशान है, पानी का नामो‍-निशान नहीं। कई नदियां इतिहास के गर्त में खत्‍म हो चुकी हैं। Also see, नर्मदा सेवा यात्रा का हिसाब और हासिल  बतायें सिंहस्थ के बाद एक और खर्चीला कार्यक्रम मुख्यमंत्री शिवराज सिंहजी ने चलाया, वह था ‘नर्मदा सेवा यात्रा का। इस यात्रा में स्थानीय लोगों ने कही खाना खिलाया भी हो, तो भी करोडों का खर्च एकआम सभा पर। बडवानी जिला स्तर की एक मीटिंग ही करोड़ों की हुई । मीटिंग के लिए मात्र लाखों रूपये खर्चकर एक शौचालय बना दिया था। हर वक्त मुख्यमंत्री का हेलिकाप्टर से आना-जाना लाखो रू का, किसी भूमिहीन को जमीन दिलाने काम आये इतना खर्च, था ही।

Gujarat to pay more for MP dam oustees The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has decided to formally issue a notification asking four states that are party to the Narmada dam project to finish ‘resettlement and rehabilitation’ (R&R) of ‘project affect families’ (PAF) before July 31. The four states are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Its very strange that Gujarat media is going all out to propagate Gujarat Govt propaganda about the Narmada Project.

Drones mapping vulnerable villages in Narmada valley The MP govt seems to be working overtime to complete resettlement and rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees, an issue which assumes significance in Gujarat, the neighbouring state, which will go to polls later this year. This is another instance of anti people bias of media, they have no space for the injustice being done to lakhs of people, but only for what the political bigwigs are doing, not even exposing their wrongful decisions. Also see, Chhatarpur villagers kick off stir against illegal sand mining

GANGA Center Chitale Committee recommends several measures for Desiltation of Ganga Chitale committee on Desiltation  of Ganga has recommended a slew of measures which include study of reach wise sediment transport processes along with establishing annual sediment budgets to guide de-silting activities, Preparation of annual reports (Sand registry) describing the previous de-silting/ dredging activity and a technical institute may be entrusted to conduct the sediment budget, morphological and flood routing studies that would examine and confirm the necessity of the de-silting of the reach under consideration. This report includes several key recommendations.

Work on new Farakka navigational lock set to begin soon Work on the navigational lock at Farakka barrage, 280 km upstream from Kolkata, that promises a fresh lease of life for Kolkata Port, has just begun after a series of preliminary studies. In a fortnight, the foundation stone of the project, a technological marvel by itself, will be formally laid by the Union minister of shipping, Nitin Gadkari. The new navigational lock is being constructed by Larson and Toubro (L&T) at a cost of Rs 359 crore and will facilitate smoother and faster dispersal of vessels.

Biodiversity profile of Ganga being reconstructed  The second phase of survey to re-construct the biodiversity profile of Ganga under ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation’ project started on May 18, 2017. The second phase aims to cover a distance of 1100 km (Kanpur to Farakka Barrage) before monsoon. The assessment will cover the entire Ganga from Devprayag in Uttarakhand to Sundarbans in West Bengal with involvement of the riverside village communities under its citizen science program. Also see, IWAI to study impact of waterways on dolphins

Uttarakhand Ganga in Haridwar unfit even for bathing The Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) reply to an RTI query put up by TOI has said that the water of the river along Haridwar is not even fit for bathing. Tests were done at 11 locations in Uttarakhand, from Gangotri to Haridwar, a distance of 294km along the river. The RTI filed sought details of water quality and locations from which samples are collected. As per CPCB, clinical tests of water samples showed high levels of BOD, coliform and other toxic materials around Haridwar district. Presence of high-level coliform further threw light on the severity of water pollution in Haridwar. Also see, In Haridwar, mining resumed in Ganga, seer sits on protest fast

Govt to approach SC against living entity status to Ganga The state govt will approach the Supreme Court (SC) to “put forth its view” on the Uttarakhand high court’s (HC) decision to grant living status to Ganga, citing “technical, geographical and administrative issues” with implementation of the order as the river flows through five states. As per, urban development minister Madan Kaushik after a cabinet meeting on May 17, 2017, the govt has written a letter to the Centre to seek its permission to approach the SC.

Kaushik also said that Uttarakhand was asking the Union govt’s permission since the latter has filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court in this regard. As per minister, while according the legal status, the HC has named chief secretary of Uttarakhand, Namami Gange Director and advocate general of the state the legal parents of the two rivers. But how can chief secretary here be held accountable if the river is polluted in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand or Uttar Pradesh? According to another news report, citing some unique administrative problems following the Uttarakhand HC order according the status of human entity to river Ganga, the Centre has moved the SC.

CAG Water quality of major rivers in UP not as per norms The audit report on the economic sector for 2015-16 laid out in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly said that the water quality of major rivers and water bodies in Uttar Pradesh is not as per the norms and the main reason for this is inadequate sewage and industrial effluent treatment facilities in the state. It also says that the malfunctioning of existing treatment facilities was also responsible for the poor quality of water. The UP PCB failed to take appropriate action against the defaulters like municipal authorities and industries, the report said.

Similarly, the latest survey, carried out by the CPCB, shows that there were in fact 1,109 grossly polluting industries along the Ganga river instead of the 764 that were known till now. So far, all pollution control measures being suggested to clean the Ganga river, like restrictions on solid and liquid discharge, installation of online monitoring mechanisms, and setting up of effluent treatment plants, were being applied only on the 764 industrial units. These will now be applicable on the newly identified units as well.

On the other hand, a committee formed by the Centre and headed by headed by National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) expert member Madhav Chitale on framing guidelines to desilt the Ganga has recommended to provide the river sufficient area of flood plain to moderate the flood level.

The panel has also advised against encroachment on the flood plain area, reclamation of lakes or disconnection of basin area lakes from the river.  It also suggested that the desilting of the water body should be carried out in a manner that the sediment continuity is maintained and it does not create safety issues for the river crossings, water intakes or river training works locally, downstream or upstream.

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh NGT allows sheet-piling work on Yamuna riverbed in Vrindavan The NGT on May 16, 2017 allowed the Mathura irrigation department to carry out sheet piling activity on the Yamuna river bed. Moreover, it directed the department to submit a detailed plan on drainage system and STPs proposed to be constructed in the holy city to the tribunal before the next date of hearing. However, the earlier order of stay on constructions at heritage ghats will remain in force. Not much is known about impact of sheet-piling work on river and floodplain. Possibly, its being done to strengthen the Ghat structure by preventing river water from percolating towards the structure. It may impact the water recharging function of shallow aquifers which in turn cater for lean season flow in the river to some extent.

Delhi Pay Rs 5K for dumping waste on Yamuna floodplains: NGT In a detailed order, the green panel said almost 67 per cent of the pollution reaching the Yamuna would be treated by the two STPs located at Delhi Gate and Najafgarh under Phase 1 of the ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017’.  As per DJB a total of 14 STPs and three sewage lines rehabilitation stands have been approved under the Yamuna rejuvenation scheme which would be completed by 2019. The court also directed Delhi govt and other authorities to restore and revive the water bodies in different parts of the national capital and turn them into places of tourist attraction.

SAND MINING

Uttar Pradesh NGT bans mechanised sand mining, orders enquiry The NGT on May 16, 2017 banned illegal extraction of minor minerals through mechanised mining in Gonda and Faizabad districts and ordered a probe into the unauthorised activities there. The court also ordered that there should be no mining activity within 50 metres from the end of the railway track on Mankapur in Faizabad and 150 metres from railway or any other bridges. The green body also directed the panel to investigate the role of former UP minister Vinod Kumar Singh and his brother Narendra Singh while conducting the probe and state whether they have any role in illegal mining activity or not.

CPCB Telangana, Andhra ignored guidelines on sand mining An additional report filed by a joint inspection team of the CPCB and before the NGT on May 11, 2017 said that the govts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh ignored the guidelines on de-silting activities while carrying on sand mining in the submergence areas of rivers Manair, Mohitummeda and Godavari. The next hearing of the case is scheduled on May 23, 2017. In April, the Tribunal had directed CPCB to inspect riverbeds in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and clarify whether sand mining was being carried out in the name of de-silting.

Jharkhand Sand mining dispute leaves four dead in Garwah district As per the report the reason behind the violent incident was that villagers wanted contractor to employ villagers for transporting of sand instead of using the trucks hired by the contractor. As per another report, the villagers were opposing sand mining for a long time as the sand mining area was being used by them to cremate the bodies. They had also complained against it to local administration. https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170521/jsp/jharkhand/story_152683.jsp#.Wby1gY0F8SQ.email

Himachal Pradesh Illegal mining on rise in Jaisinghpur Despite a complete ban on mining in the state and subsequent orders of the National NGT, the administration has so far failed to check illegal mining going on in the rivulets of the remote Jaisinghpur subdivision of Kangra district. Because of apathetic attitude of the mining and forest departments, other state agencies and the local administration, the illegal mining has flourished in this remote subdivision of the district for the past three years.

Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh Chhatarpur villagers kick off stir against illegal sand mining In a first of its kind agitation, villagers in Chhatarpur district have started a dharna against illegal sand mining from the Ken river, threatening that it will continue till illegal mining is stopped. As per villagers, for the past one month, the mafia men have been digging sand round-the-clock. Villagers alleged that heavy earth moving machines are deployed in the area to dig out the sand from Ken river. Sand mafia threatens to set whole village on fire if villagers objecting to mining activities. The round the clock illegal mining operations  from Ken river in Hinota  village have   enveloped the village in dust clouds, leading to health problems. 

Uttarakhand In Haridwar, mining resumed in Ganga, seer sits on protest fast After about five years ban, Haridwar (rural) MLA Yatishwarananda on May 13, 2017 launched mining activity to be carried out by the forest development corporation (van vikas nigam) in presence of a host of corporation officials. In protest against the administration’s alleged contempt of court, Atmabodhananda, an Matri Sadan ashram inmate, went on a fast from May 14, 2017, demanding suspension of chief secretary S Ramaswamy, industry secretary Shailesh Bagoli, director (mining) Vinai Shankar Pandey and other officials responsible for issuing the order for resumption of mining.

WETLANDS

Kolkata Mayor wants flyover through EKW State Environment Minister and Mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee is now keen on building a 6.5-km long flyover cutting through the heart of East Kolkata Wetlands, with 146 piers being planned in the ecologically fragile pocket. “The flyover project, which was apparently quietly mooted a year-and-a-half ago, has now reached an advanced stage with the alignment in place and detailed project report being prepared. Chatterjee, also the East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority chairman, held a meeting on with senior state officials to discuss the hurdles faced by the plan. Months ago, a proposal was made to set up an amusement park at the Ramsar site.

Jammu & Kashmir Minister calls for immediate eviction of encroachers Minister of State for Forest and  Environment, Mir Zahoor Ahmad on May 19, 2017 paid visit to World Famous Wetland Hokersar in the city of Srinagar and took stock of the measures and initiatives taken up by the Department of Wildlife Protection for restoration of the reserve site of Hokersar. During the visit, he emphasized on the need for dredging of the silted up portion of the Wetland. The Minister directed the concerned for demarcation of the Water Body and immediate eviction of encroachments. The Minister desired for opening of an outlet channel for the water accumulated in the Wetland so that in case of floods, there is no backtrack of the water.

GROUND WATER

Indian little girls carrying on their heads water from well

Indian little girls crossing sand dunes and carrying on their heads water from local well, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India. Rajasthani women and children often walk long distances through the desert to bring back jugs of water that they carry on their heads.

Haryana In 4 decades, groundwater level plunged more than 50% According to official information, in 1974 the groundwater was available at 9.19 metre (m) and in 2016, it has gone down to 18.66m, recording a decline up to 9.47m. In fact, this is the state’s average, as in many districts the groundwater level has gone down up to 46m. Nearly 71 blocks in 17 districts have been reported overexploited for groundwater, 15 blocks in 11 districts fall under the critical category while seven as semi-critical. Officials say that the trend of submersible tubewells from 1999 onwards resulted in overexploitation of groundwater in many districts, especially the ‘Paddy Belt’ comprising districts of Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat and Ambala.

As per report, in 1966 there were merely 27,957 tubewells, while in 2014-15 (latest numbers available with the department), the total number of tubewells has gone to 8,77,151 comprising 3,01,986 diesel-run tubewells and 5,75,165 electric tubewells, recording a 30-fold increase in the state. Around 30-40 years ago, paddy used to be sown on hardly 10-20% of agriculture land, which multiplied over the years, leading to more extraction of groundwater.”

Uttar Pradesh NGT asks five-star hotels to seek CGWA permission The Green Tribunal on May 15, 2017 have directed four five-star hotels of Agra to get approval from the Central Ground Water Authority to extract groundwater and submit a report within two weeks. The court was hearing a petition filed in Sept 2015 by a Delhi-based environmentalist Shailesh Singh against six luxury hotels here for allegedly drawing millions of litres of ground water illegally as well as installing tube wells without permission. 

Maharashtra Allegation of scam in JYS A cabinet minister from Shiv Sena party has alleged corruption in the Jalyukt Shivar Yojna (JYS). Senior Sena leader and environment minister Ramdas Kadam had alleged a day before that the work done under the scheme in Dapoli, Khed and Mandangad tehsils of Ratnagiri was only on paper and officials had cleared bills of Rs 10 crore for non-existent work.

Meanwhile the state govt has decided to cover 5000 more villages under the scheme in the year. Of over 40,000 villages in the state, this scheme is being practised in 11,494 villages. The govt has allotted Rs 1,200 crore for continuing the water conservation project in 2017-2018. There should be a credible independent review of earlier programs and removal of problematic components like deepening, Widening and straightening of rivers, farm ponds filled with groundwater, etc.

Op-Ed Beef export unethical slaughter for money by Ritwick Dutta Meat industry is highly water-intensive: for producing just a kilo of meat, roughly 15,000 litres of water is required (UN World Water Development rep­ort, 2012). Thus, when India exports meat, it is not just exporting meat, but also large quantities of scarce water. India EXPORTS WATER by export of Rs 26000 Crores of beef under the leadership of Shri Modi.

DELHI WATER

Is bule the colour of death in Delhi’s cancer colony Illegal jeans dying units in North East Delhi discharge untreated chemically laced water that is suspected mixing with and polluting the groundwater and thus causing cancer to local dwellers. As per report, in the two lanes of Shiv Vihar Phase 10 alone two deaths and eight suspected tumour cases are detected.  Though no study has been conducted in this Mustafabad locality, locals trace the genesis of the abnormal rate of cancer to toxic chemicals used by the denim dyeing units. Pradhan, the area MLA, alleged that the chemicals have led to health problems, which include a significant incidence of cancer. The legislator claimed to have raised the issue in Delhi assembly, but to little avail.

Concerned over the possibility of ground water contamination in the city due to industrial units in residential areas, the Delhi High Court on May 17, 2017 asked the authorities what steps they were taking to prevent it.  The court has issued notices to the CGWA, Delhi govt, Delhi Pollution Control Board and various civic bodies of the national capital and sought their stand by May 25, 2017. It queried the authorities after taking cognisance of a news report about discharge of carcinogenic chemicals by cloth dyeing units in Mustafabad locality of northeast Delhi. Before this MoWR has directed the Delhi govt to set up an expert committee to conduct a detailed study on the health impact of the dyeing units and extent of ground water contamination in the area, if any, due to these industrial units and submit report in one month.

DROUGHT OPTIONS

Maharashtra Latur makes comeback as major foodgrain market The drought and the subsequent campaign by a section of environmentalists and water experts also led to the area under sugarcane, often called a water-guzzling crop in Marathwada, shrinking by nearly 35% in 2016, and farmers shifting to foodgrain and tur. Area under foodgrain, pulses, and oilseeds in Marathwada rose by 4%, 30%, and 8% respectively, further leading to a whopping 80%, 180%, and 142% rise in yields, according to Maharashtra’s agriculture commissionerate. So much so that the state is struggling with a massive amount of tur, with output growing from 444,000 tonnes in 2016 to 2.35 million tonnes in 2017.

DROUGHT 2017

Tamil Nadu Parched in rice bowl Account of the severe drought in Tamil Nadu: “We couldn’t help but notice that like in other places, it is a man-made drought. There is rampant over-extraction of groundwater and under-recharging. The well-planned canal irrigation system of Tamil Nadu is in disarray, disrepair and disuse. The Cauvery water dispute has its own multidimensional ramifications, which are amplified by State-sponsored sand mining leading to the ever-reducing capacity of the riverbed to retain water.

The impact of drought on the rural population of Tamil Nadu seemed far more debilitating as the expectation of efficacious relief was far greater. Stuck between an uncaring Central govt and an unresponsive State govt, the tide of hope ebbs as a wave of anger rises. But the farmers have not given up yet. Their zest to put up a good fight burns bright. That, in itself, makes all the difference between Bundelkhand and the Cauvery delta.

AGRICULTURE

Maharashtra Farms plots becoming smaller  Some key figures:

– According to the latest Agricultural Census of 2010-11, in Maharashtra — which is one of the fastest urbanising states — a total of 1.371 crore land holdings spread over 2 crore hectares of land have come down by 0.12 per cent to 1.369 crore.

– The total agricultural land has also dipped by 1.18 per cent to 1.97 crore hectares of land.

– The total number of land holdings spread over less than 0.5 hectares of land has grown by nearly 15.16 per cent from 31.65 lakh to 36.45 lakh.

– Marginal farmers made up only 23.08 per cent of the state’s land holdings in 2005-05, they now constitute 26.61 per cent. Marginal and small farmers together made up 78.6 per cent of the state’s agricultural land holdings. 

Also see, Pomegranate spell profit for farmers The consistently high returns from growing pomegranates in Maharashtra, the epicenter of the fruit’s production in India, have seen many farmers adopt it over water-guzzling crops such as sugarcane and cotton. It would indeed be great if some of the sugarcane farmers have shifted to pomegranate.

SOUTH ASIA

India-Bangladesh Sharing Teesta waters a murky business Op-Ed by Nilanjan Ghosh No govt has placed any data in the public domain for independent professionals to research. There is no water accounting, sediment budgeting, or a simple hydrograph of the Teesta in the public forum. So far, govts have exhibited suspicion and apprehension about independent research on rivers crossing international boundaries. There seems to be a tendency on the part of the West Bengal govt to shy away from independent scrutiny of the report. Only independent analyses conducted with data will help understand the real problem, and draw up solutions on the basis of institutional mechanisms.  

China-Pakistan China to invest $50 bn to develop Indus River Cascade Pakistan and China are expected to sign an MoU for developing the North Indus River Cascade with investment of USD 50 billion to generate up to 40,000 MW hydro electricity. Some 40,000MW of this potential power is located in the region called the Indus River Cascade, which begins from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as far as Tarbela, the site of Pakistan s biggest dam. The Indus River Cascade includes Diamer-Bhasha Dam project for which Pakistan needs USD 15 billion financing. Sources said the Chinese side conducted survey and studies on the North Indus Cascade including the sites of Pattan, Thacoat, Bunji, Dasau and Diamer in Feb 2017. The investment would be made in Gilgit- Baltistan region which is part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This MASSIVE 40000 MW hydropower development with Chinese investment promise of USD 50 B will certainly help China, but will it help Pakistan??? NO.

More information about China Pak agreement about Indus River Dams: In a new challenge to India, which claims Gilgit-Baltistan as its own territory, China will fund and build two Indus mega-dams at a total cost of $27 billion, according to a MoU signed in Beijing during PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit. Rhe planned 7,100MW Bunji Dam and the 4,500MW Bhasha Dam.The Bunji and Bhasha dams are also claimed to be part of CPEC. The Bunji and Bhasha dams, which will largely benefit the dominant Punjab province, located downstream, are set to enlarge China’s strategic footprint in the restive, Shia-majority Gilgit-Baltistan.

Indeed, the Bunji and Bhasha Dam projects are already facing grassroots resistance because they are viewed locally as instruments to expropriate Gilgit-Baltistan’s water resources for Punjab province. The Bhasha Dam alone will flood 200 square kilometres of Gilgit-Baltistan, displacing at least 28,000 residents and submerging some significant archaeological sites.

BN-TJ281_himahy_IM_20170509172115Nepal Water the new rising power in Himalaya The Title clearly seems exaggerated, but interesting details: Officials project almost a third more hydropower capacity will come online this year. As per officials, more than 100 projects under construction—over 40 since last year—and others in development will yield at least a tenfold increase in the next decade to 10 GW of power.

About Under Construction 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Project: It’s is also a risky project. To the East the dangerous glacial lake Tsho Rolpa threatens to burst its banks. To the West, the Gongar river routinely spits boulders the size of two-story buildings over the valley wall. A bridge the developers built over the Gongar was swept away in a flash flood during monsoon season. Landslides triggered by quakes swept away swaths of the access road. To keep working, project developers built a steel truss bridge and drilled a new road tunnel through a collapsed valley wall. Moreover, the project is built on such volatile terrain that the turbines and delicate transmission equipment were buried 460 feet beneath the surface.

CHINA

China builds hydropower plant in Laos, poses threat to Mekong Delta Nguyen Anh Duc, director of the Mekong River Development Assistance Center under the Mekong River Commission of Vietnam, said if the hydropower plant is built on the basis of such inadequate information, it would cause unforeseen consequences to the lower course, especially Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Preliminary estimates show that the cumulative impacts to be caused by Pak Beng along with the hydropower terraces on the Mekong mainstream may reduce the amount of nutrients for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta by 6-10 percent.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Dams are major driver of global environmental change Significant Points: – The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Université libre de Bruxelles, appears in Nature Communications. It found that man-made dam reservoirs trap nearly one-fifth of the organic carbon moving from land to ocean via the world’s rivers.

– There are currently in excess of 70,000 large dams worldwide. With the continuing construction of new dams, more than 90 per cent of the world’s rivers will be fragmented by at least one dam within the next 15 years.

– In similar recent studies, the group of researchers also found that ongoing dam construction impedes the transport of nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon through river networks. The changes in nutrient flow have global impacts on the quality of water delivered to wetlands, lakes, floodplains and coastal marine areas downstream.

American Rivers The fight to save hydro power environmental reviews Last month, at an event described as a “White House CEO Town Hall,” President Donald Trump told an astonished public that he wants to trim the permitting process for new dams down to four months. That’s less than half the time that a sixteen year old needs to have a Learners’ Permit before applying for a Maryland Driver’s License. That’s shorter than professional football’s regular season. It’s the length of a kindergarten year, if your child attends a half-day program not a full day program. Luckily, the President’s advisors appear to have talked him down from this position, and he’s settled on a one-year permitting process for building new dams.

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California Tribe set out to save its river and stop a suicide epidemic Deep in California’s coastal woods near the Oregon border, the reservation straddles the mighty Klamath River, the tribe’s lifeblood for centuries. But over the last 50 years, the yearly migration of salmon from the Pacific dwindled, and poverty, addiction and lawlessness gripped the reservation. Last year, a rash of suicides pushed the tribe, California’s largest and one of its poorest, into an existential crisis. SAD story of how abnormally high suicide rate was related to death of a river.

CLIMATE CHANGE

UNEP India no longer needs global support to decarbonise itself India no longer needs international cooperation to decarbonise itself and needs to pressure countries to remain ambitious, including wealthier countries that need to act domestically and support developing countries in the transition to a green economy. Similarly, China today is the world’s largest issuer of green bonds, a new way to fund “green” projects.

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Global World’s seed bank flooded after permafrost melt in Arctic The underground safety vault on a Norwegian Arctic island to preserve a million type of seeds of crops from across the world have been damaged with melting of ice due to global warming, though the seeds are not damaged, and some alternative arrangements have now been made. Very interesting and yet DISCOCNERTING.

Video NICRA Case Study II. Climate smart farming The National Innovations on Climate-resilient Agriculture (NICRA) was launched by the central govt in 2011. It covers 121 villages in the country. Khagribari, in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district, has 1,600 households. This village is one of the places where a pilot project on climate-smart agriculture has been launched.  

ENVIRONMENT

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Anil Madhav Dave: A true environmentalist, passes away quietly Nitin Sethi in this article explains key reasons why Anil Madhav Dave could not prove his environmental credentials: One, the NDA govt’s overriding desire for ease of business gave him little wiggle room to showcase any ‘green’ credentials. Two, he had a rather short tenure. Three, the ministry has always been closely monitored, instructed and guided by the Prime Minister’s Office under the NDA govt.  I feel he did not seem to have sufficient understanding of what are the key issues in environmental governance in India, rather his understanding seemed contrary to the needs of the environment governance.

You may also like to see, DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 

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