DRP News Bulletin 29 May 2017 (Drought Options: Lessons from Rajasthan)

 

Rajasthan Lessons from a reborn river The district of Alwar in Rajasthan is water-stressed, receiving less than 650 mm of rainfall in a year, most of which falls during the Southwest monsoon. But Alwar exists in a stable equilibrium, where even if there is a drought, the Johad’s and the forests make it possible for water to be stored underground. Because of strong communal interdependencies, all villagers stuck to sensible crops for the region, and maintaines the Johads. The community, the Forests, the Johads, the choice of crops, all worked together and reinforces one another. Equilibriums are maintained by such reinforcing activities that fortify status quo. FASCINATING account of how Arvari community rejuvenated their rivers and what are the lessons.

Similarly, born out of a traditional system of harvesting rainwater, beris are lifesavers for both humans and animals in parts of western Rajasthan for centuries. Shaped like matkas (pitcher), these shallow wells are dug up in areas with gypsum or bentonite beds which prevent the rainwater from percolating downwards but guide them towards the wells through capillary action. 

Last year, Ramgarh and its surrounding villages hardly received any rain. But even then, these beris are fully charged. 

The importance of beris is further underlined by what one notices a few km away. Water from the humongous Indira Gandhi canal gathers in a pond-like structure on its way to the filtering unit. Near the canal’s Sagarmal Gopa branch, one also notices a cow’s rotting carcass. The unclean water, full of green algae, looks unfit for consumption yet tractors line up to carry it away in huge cans.

On the outskirts of Netsi village, 23 beris are in use. The village has a huge cement tank that stores water released from the IG canal. But many women trek a kilometer away to the village outskirts, where the beris are located.

The traditional beris were made of wood.  The success in these water-harvesting projects has come by forging a partnership with locals. Netsi villagers provided free-of-charge labour required to make the beris functional again.

Over the years the bhils learnt to use water-saving techniques such as toba, which allows rainwater to be stored for drinking, and dhora, a technique that ensures rainwater storage for irrigation.

DROUGHT OPTIONS

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Tamil Nadu Youths’ contribution ensures desilting of irrigation tank Without waiting for the PWD’s assistance for desilting a irrigation tank, residents of Pottal near Palayamkottai have mobilised funds to complete desilting of the waterbody in their hamlet hoping that the forthcoming southwest monsoon would revive farming operations in and around their hamlet. Good to see people taking up desilting of a tank on their own in a village in Madurai district.

HYDRO POWER

Assam PM inaugurates India’s longest bridge PM Narendra Modi has inaugurated the country’s longest Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in Assam on May 26, 2017. This bridge will reduce the travel time between Rupai, Assam to Meka/Roing, Arunachal Pradesh by around five hours. This new, three lane, 9.15 kilometre bridge has been built at a cost of about Rs 2,056 crore over river Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, linking Dhola in Assam to Sadiya in Arunachal Pradesh. India’s longest bridge, across Lohit inaugurated by PM for pushing hydro dams.  

DAMS

Rajasthan Govt sets ball rolling for Parwan Dam project In a recent development, Hindustan Construction Company, HCC has been awarded Rs 672.99 crore contract on Engineering Procurement Construction basis for the construction of Parwan Gravity Dam by the Water Resources Department of the state govt. HCC’s share in the JV is 90% or around Rs 605.70 crore. The project was given EC in Nov, 2011 and in 2013 it got embroiled in several controversies including displacement of tribals. The dam will completely submerge 17 villages and partially inundate 30 villages, affecting over 3,000 families including 461 tribal families.It will likely to submerge 10,000 hectares, including more than 1,600 hectares of forestland.

IRRIGATION

Jharkhand Small pumps hold promise for smallholder farmers Many small and marginal farmers in Lohardaga and Gumla are using tiny pumps to irrigate vegetable fields, an entrepreneurial model that has potential to increase incomes for smallholders since groundwater is abundant in the state. Small pumps are helping farmers in Jharkhand.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

National Activists oppose plan to inter link Indian rivers Experts on May 18, 2017 lambasted ambitious plans to bring much needed water to remote central India by linking two rivers, in the latest clash over dwindling water resources. Activists want the govt to implement cheaper, more effective methods of irrigation, saying the environmental impact of interlinking rivers can be huge. According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, about 65 million people were displaced in India by dams, highways and power plants between 1950 and 2005 and less than a fifth of them have been resettled.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Centre Cabinet approves allocation of 2.5% of CRF for NW The Union Cabinet on May 24, 2016 has accorded its approval to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs).  The Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 would be moved in the ensuing Monsoon Session, 2017 of the Parliament. An allocation of 2.5 per cent of CRF proceeds would provide approximately Rs.2000 crore per annum for the development and maintenance of NWs at existing rates of duties funding the CRF. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has estimated that approximately Rs. 25,000 crores would be required for development of identified projects on NWs till 2022-23. IWAI also has planned to undertake work on the development of 24 NWs during the next three years.

RIVERS

AP TS Rivers Profile cover page

SANDRP Blog Andhra & Telangana Rivers Profile This is about two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (the latter being 29th Indian state formed in 2013 after a protracted struggle). Since the discussion is on the state of rivers, it may be noted that these are two states whose historical trajectory is intrinsically linked to the history of, mainly, two major rivers—Krishna and Godavari, although the two states have many other rivers.

Op-Ed Think like a river by Debadityo Sinha It is also important to understand that today we have hardly any major rivers remaining in its natural character and many of them are severely ill and dying either at the hands of engineering marvels or through poisons discharged into them through sewage and effluents. In this, what place does a river enjoy in our imagination of sustainable development, whose sustenance and whose development are we talking about? Therefore, we must strive to keep the best interest of the River at top priority and start by correcting our mistakes in past. That would certainly require some unconventional decisions by govt and willingness to make sacrifices by the people.

West Bengal Rupnarayan river eroding Mayachar island The lives and livelihood of nearly 6,000 residents of the Mayachar island in Purba Medinipur district is in jeopardy due to the land erosion caused by the river Rupnarayan. The residents of the 7-km-wide island, located on the southern bank of the river in the Mahishadal block of the district, have said they are living in constant fear of losing their homes as the river takes up more and more of their land. Story of how Rupnarayan river is eroding Mayachar (what a name) island in Purba Medinipur district in W Bengal.

Odisha Dry Telen river brings untold miseries ahead of drought River Telen, which was the lifeline of Kolabira block in the district, has dried up completely. The river is a tributary of Mahanadi and merges with river Bheden at Salepali. Mindless drawing of water by industries has dried up Telen completely leaving the villagers in a lurch. Although a sand barrage could have stored some water, lack of foresight of the district administration has led to water crisis in Salepali and other villages, which are located along the river. Mahanadi tribuatry in Odisha in crisis.

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh CM bans sand mining in river Narmada The State govt on May 22, 2017 has announced to impose a total ban on sand mining in river Narmada across the state. It  has also put a check on the excavation of sand through machines from other rivers in the state. A notification in this regard will be issued today by the govt. The decision seem to have arrived in view of large number complaints filed with the central bench of NGT by various social organisations and individuals against illegal mining of sand from the river bed across the state. As per the CM the govt will form a committee under the supervision of state industries minister Rajendra Shukla and experts from IIT Kharagpur will be involved to suggest next mode of action.

Narmada Seva Yatra PM’s speech part of training for Swachh Bharat ‘preraks’ When PM Narendra Modi addressed the concluding function of the Narmada Seva Yatra at Amarkantak on May 15, seated in the audience were more than 47,000 people who got Rs 500 each in their capacity as “prerak” (motivator) of the Rajya Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural). The function was attended by more than a lakh people. Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava, under whom the Mission falls, said the preraks are to get training on how to keep the Narmada clean, and the PM’s speech was a part of that. SCANDAL?: 47000 people paid Rs 500 each to attend the Narmada Yatra Function in Amarkantak on May 15, addressed by PM, in the name of training.

Gujarat PM takes water route to Kutchi hearts Inaugurating the third Narmada pumping station near Bhachau town, PM Narendra Modi on May 22, 2017 stated that funds meant for the poor were heavily slashed and a larger budgetary allocation was made to provide Narmada water to most parts of the arid district that battles severe water scarcity. AMAZING: While the Narmada water allocation for Gujarat and the Sardar Sarovar Project were justified in the name of Drought prone areas like Kutch, They are LAST to get the water, As NBA had predicted and that water comes (not clear how much, for how much area and with what priority) with lecture of conservation and too much expenses. 

GANGA Farakka Dam Nitish for Ganga silt management policy Addressing a function in Begusarai, CM Nitish Kumar has said the Centre should urgently initiate corrective measures to ensure the Ganga’s unhindered flow if it seriously wishes to restore the pristine purity of the holy river. Bihar CM alleges that he raised the issue of siltation even at the 11th Inter-State Council meeting in New Delhi. In response, the PM directed a committee of experts to study the problem. However, the committee members did not visit the spot and submitted a report without studying the ground reality.  

Report Ganga needs political will, enabling policy framework  As per ‘Ganga: An unholy mess’ report there are two main reasons for the failure. The govts of the states, municipalities and panchayats through which the Ganga and its tributaries flow see little incentive to clean up. The result is billions sunk in STPs, which either do not work or are unconnected to the main sources of sewage.  The second reason is that during non-monsoon months, there simply isn’t enough water to carry the pollutants away. A river is a river only when water flows through it. Except during the monsoon, the Ganga fails this basic test. Also see, Why rivers like Ganga are more prone to flooding

CAG report Gomti river more polluted than Ganga The CAG report which studied the pollution levels in Lucknow and Varanasi from 2011 to 2015 has revealed that the  Gomti river in Lucknow is even more polluted than the Ganga in Varanasi, a CAG report has revealed. Also see, Quality of water in major rivers in the State not per norms: CAG

Uttar Pradesh NGT asks CPCB to test ground water in 8 west UP districts  For years, the villagers were forced to drink contaminated water of hand-pumps, which drew water from the river. Locals said that instead of water, the river now carries “industrial effluent and municipal waste”. They said that the hand-pumps “spew venom” instead of fresh water, leading to spread of cancer and various other life-threatening diseases. According to a recent report, at least 20 people died of cancer in just three villages of neighbouring Bijnor due to contaminated water and over a dozen people were suffering from the deadly disease.  NGT continues hearings & villagers continue dieing of life threatening diseases caused by water pollution.

SAND MINING

Uttarakhand This village shows there’s money in saving forests Dudhai’s villagers may be the first in India to have got financial benefits under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.They have also used its provisions to end rampant illegal mining on the Swarna riverbed which had been destroying agricultural field and forests. Fighting the mining mafia, engaged in large-scale extraction of stones and sand for construction works, seemed unthinkable until villagers and forest officers in Dudhai, near Dehradun, decided to use the biodiversity Act. Very interesting story about how village Dudhai near Dehradun (Uttarakhand) stopped illegal mining in River Swarna using Biodiversity Act 2002.

Madhya Pradesh Mechanised sand mining continues unabated in Ken river A day after the govt banned mechanised sand mining in all rivers of the state, heavy earth moving machines were seen digging out sand from Ken river in Chattarpur district on May 23, 2015. The machines rubbed salt on wounds of Hinota villagers who have been sitting on a dharna for the past one week to stop illegal sand mining in Ken river. The villagers have now threatened to hold a jal satyagrah from May 25, 2017. The sand mines in the area are spread both in Panna and Chattarpur districts. Though the contract for mining belongs to a Jabalpur-based miner, people from UP also operate and trucks loaded with the sand are despatched to cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Raibareli and Faizaba, the villagers alleged. Also see, CM bans sand mining in river Narmada

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Karnataka Illegal sand extractors mine in dam backwaters too Illegal sand extraction continues to thrive in parts of Dakshina Kannada, including Bantwal, the constituency of Environment Minister. After the licence period for sand extraction in rivers under CRZ ended in April 2nd week, sand extractors appeared to have gone up-stream the Netravathi in the backwaters of Thumbe vented dam. PWD maintained that the area covered by backwaters does not fall under CRZ area; permits to extract sand should be given either by PWD or Mines Department. In this case neither have issued permits to extract sand in the backwaters, sources said confirming illegal extraction.

Punjab Govt tweaked auction rules before minister’s ex-cook got sand mine Four days before the e-auction of sand mines in Punjab, in which a former employee of Minister for Power and Irrigation Rana Gurjit Singh bagged a Rs 26 crore contract, the govt changed the rules of the auction to keep the names of the bidders secret. The sand mine contract to Amit Bahadur, who was a cook with Rana Gurjit’s firm Rana Sugars, has triggered demands by opposition parties for the minister’s resignation. Rana Gurjit has sought to distance himself from Bahadur saying that he left his employment in February this year. NON TRANSPARENCY IN SAND MINING BID SEEMS ATTEMPT TO HIDE CORRUPTION.

WETLANDS

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Uttarakhand Nainital lake level 18 feet below normal The water level in Naini lake has fallen by an unprecedented 18 feet below the normal level. Experts have blamed ille construction, felling of gal construction, felling of trees, concretisation of the catchment area and destruction of natural springs. Of the 60 natural springs in the city that recharged the lake, only 30 exist today.  Another contributing factor, experts pointed out, was the neglect of Sukhatal, which recharges more than 50% of the lake. Experts also said the town and the lake are unable to meet the needs of a burgeoning population and the increased tourist inflow. There has been no comprehensive research in the last two decades of the changes required to preserve the lake and surrounding water bodies.

Meanwhile, governor K K Paul has directed officials to take measures for the protection of the lake.  As per reports, Sukhatal which feeds Naini lake of 40-53% water is in dire condition owing to apathy of the govt and the district administration which fail to protect its catchment area from unauthorized encroachments leading to depletion of water. Also see, Why lakes are drying

Chandigarh Sukhna Lake likely to go dry by June 30  As per reports, against the needed depth of 10 feet, the Sukhna has now shrunk to a mere 1.75 feet. Experts have predicted that water is evaporating from the lake at the rate of 8mm a day (around one/40th of a feet a day, or a feet in 40 days) and if it does not rain, by June 30, it will go dry (depth at 0.7 feet, less than the depth of a child’s toy swimming pool. From April 1, till May 18, 2017, the Sukhna has lost more than half of its depth. With the required water level from the sea (mean sea level) needed at 1,163 feet, the current level at 1,152 feet is already alarming enough to restrict boating.

Meanwhile, the Union Territory Administration is mulling over a proposal to divert 2 mgd (million gallons of water per day) water from Bhakra mainline canal daily from November to February every year as a permanent solution to prevent the drying up of Sukhna Lake. Since January 16, the Chandigarh Administration has been using a 450 m pipeline to divert 2 million gallons of water per day to the lake from seven tubewells located near the Chandigarh Golf Club. The operation continued till March. The water level of the lake in April was 1,154 feet. Why is groundwater being used to fill up Sukhna lake and now plans are to use Bhakra water to fill up the lake in winter? Meanwhile, Punjab and Haryana have had a meeting held to discuss plans to save Sukhna Lake. Good to see Punjab and Haryana working together for the cause of Sukhna lake.

Jammu & Kashmir Shrinking wetlands leave J&K high and dry Four months before Sept 2014 floods ravaged the state, a study conducted by two University of Kashmir research fellows that quantified how much the wetlands have shrunk between 1971 and 2010 was published. In these three decades, Hokersar wetland was reduced to less than half its size even as the area of the Anchar wetland reduced by more than a third. By 2010, more than half the wetlands area present in 1971 had vanished. Also see, 718 people booked for encroachment on water bodies, wetlands

Haryana Proposed debris processing plant a threat to Basai wetlands The Basai ‘wetlands’ near Gurgaon could soon be lost to a proposed construction and demolition (C&D) plant. A multinational construction firm has been granted permission to build C&D waste processing plant over 3.5 acres at Basai. While bird enthusiasts have demanded that the plant be shifted as they fear that it would destroy the wetlands and scare away the birds, officials at Gurgaon Municipal Corporation (MCG) are optimistic that it would help to process tonnes of construction debris being dumped in the Aravallis and elsewhere.

Karnataka Most lakes in Bengaluru have poor water quality As per Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s (KSPCB) report based on April 2016 and March 2017 period, not just the water in Bellandur lake but not none of the  lakes have a ‘satisfactory’ water quality index in Bengaluru city. Of the 51 lakes sampled in 11 did not have water.

WATER

Report India uses up more groundwater than US, China Important points: Currently, 29% of the country’s blocks into the “over-exploited” category. If the current trends continue, by 2030 nearly 60% of Indian aquifers will be in a critical condition. This means that some 25% of the agricultural production will be at risk -a devastating scenario. After accounting for losses, the total usable water available in the country is 1,123 bcm, while the total water consumption in 2006 was 829 bcm, projected to rise to 1,093 bcm by 2020. Delhi receives a mindboggling 690 billion litres of rainfall every year. Harvesting even 25% of this would yield 172 billion litres. With an average demand of about 5 billion litres per day, this could just be sufficient to tide over a hot, waterless summer month.

Uttarakhand State stares at water crisis As per reports more than 1,400 locations in the State are grappling with shortage of water.  Raghav Langar, director, Swajal (a govt agency for water conservation) said a web portal had also been created, which would have the entire database relating to natural springs across the state. As per Langar, so far, mapping of some 27,000 natural springs has been carried out and complete data to be fed into the web portal would be ready in a month. As per CM when the state came into being (17 years ago) Dehradun town used to get the supply of 72 MLD, which has now reduced to half (37 MLD). Also see, Nainital lake level 18 feet below normal

National Cashing in on scarcity Water ATMs have been introduced in villages and panchayats across the country by different agencies. It has even become a popular CSR activity for companies. Many of them now even run on solar energy and electricity, thereby reducing operating costs. While all the initiatives are borne out of an urgent need for clean drinking water in rural areas, it is sad that today citizens are required to pay for a natural resource that should be free, in abundance and a basic right.

DELHI WATER

NGT Restore and clean water bodies NGT has asked Delhi govt, Municipal Corporations, DDA and others to revive all 600 water bodies including Rajokari that is being revived, without use of cement, concrete or bricks and without affecting its geo morphology or catchment. Delhi HC had made similar order some years back, without much impact.

DROUGHT 2017

Karnataka Maharashtra releases Koyna water to crisis-hit Karnataka The State Govt on May 22, 2017 has released water from the Koyna dam in Satara district to alleviate the water crisis in Karnataka. Around 0.5 TMC water will be released over a 10-day period, authorities have said. Water level in the Kaveri river basin has plummeted due to the soaring temperature. This is the second such discharge from the Koyna reservoir to Karnataka. Last month, 2.5 TMC water was released from the reservoir following a high-level meeting between officials of the neighbouring States. Maharashtra releases another 0.5 TMCft water to Karnataka from Koyna dam, on top of 2.5 TMC ft sent earlier, on request from Karnataka and in return, Karnataka to release water for Solapur from Almatti Dam.

Maharashtra Pilot cloud seeding project in arid parts The Centre will start a pilot programme to study the viability of cloud seeding in Solapur area of Maharashtra this monsoon. The programme will be carried out by ministry of earth sciences (MoES) using two research aircraft. While one plane will be undertaking the exercise of cloud seeding, another aircraft would take samples to study its viability. The objective of this three-year pilot project is to find a long-term solution to the problem of drought. The exercise would be replicated in other water starved regions in future.

Tamil Nadu CM inaugurates desilting work at Mettur dam CM K Palaniswami n May 28, 2017 inaugurated desilting work in Mettur Dam, taken up as part of efforts to augment water resources in view of the drought. This is first ever such exercise in the 83-year old history of the reservoir across the Cauvery river. The move is expected to help store about ten per cent additional water in the dam, which caters to the irrigational needs of farmers in the Delta districts. Not clear how the silt is being removed, how it is transported, where, and how much silt is being removed and at what cost.

FLOOD 2017

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Cloud burst in UK 2017 बादल फटने की घटनाओं से उत्तराखंड  में दो स्थानों पर तबाही गुरुवार (May 25, 2017) की देर रात देवभूमि में दो स्थानों पर बादल फटने की घटना से भारी तबाही हुई। इन घटनाओं में जहां मकान-दुकान सबकुछ बह गये वहीं खाने पीने के भी लाले पर गये हैं। पेयजल की लाइनों समेत सैकड़ो बीघे कृषि फसल नष्ट हो गये हैं।

May, 25, 2017 को चकराता Dehradun में मौसम ने अचानक करवट ली। लगातार बारिश के चलते गुत्तू, मोठी, कांडोई और नावरी खड्ड उफन गए। उफनाए गदेरों के चलते गाता गांव में दो बीघा में लगाई गई सेब और अखरोटी की नर्सरी में लगे 40000 पौधें बर्बाद हो गई।

शुक्रवार (May 26,2017) को बारिश और आंधी से गढ़वाल और कुमाऊं मंडल में जनजीवन अस्त-व्यस्त हो गया। टिहरी और अल्मोड़ा के रानीखेत क्षेत्र में बादल फटने से खेतों के साथ ही कई घरों में मलबा घुस गया।

May 25, 2017 चौखुटिया तहसील के दो गांवों ग्राम पंचायत बिजरानी व टटलगांव में गुरुवार दोपहर बाद अचानक बादल फट गया। इससे एक आवासीय भवन व एक ढाबा बह गया। आठ मवेशी भी बह गए। गांव का बिजरानी गधेरा उफना जाने से कई घरों में मलबा घुस गया है। गांव का पैदल मार्ग भी बह गया है।

बादल फटने से स्वैप के तहत बनी पेयजल योजना ध्वस्त हो गई है। बड़े पैमाने पर खेत मलबे से अट गए हैं तो पेयजल योजनाएं, पैदल रास्ते ध्वस्त हो गए।  चौखुटिया-कर्णप्रयाग राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग बाधित हो गया है। तीन दिन पहले भी चौखुटिया क्षेत्र में बादल फटा था।

May 26, 2017 शाम अल्मोड़ा जिले के रानीखेत क्षेत्र के मलौना व सल्ट के खदेरा गांव बादल फट गया। खदेरा गांव में बादल फटने के बाद उफनाए नाले में मीनू (14) पुत्री स्व. भगत सिंह बह गई। वहीं क्षेत्र में कई खेत भी बह गए हैं। कई घरों में मलबा घुस गया है।

इससे पहले May 25,  2017  रात हुई बारिश में अल्मोड़ा जिले के शीतलाखेत क्षेत्र में कुरचौना की पहाड़ी दरक जाने से कठपुड़िया-पतलना सड़क पर बड़े-बड़े बोल्डर व मलबा आ गया है। इससे कुरचौना, पतलवा, दरमाह, बसगांव समेत आधा दर्जन गांव अलग-थलग पड़ गए हैं। गांव का मंदिर भी क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया है। पिथौरागढ़ जिले में के बेरीनाग तहसील में आंधी से राजकीय प्राथमिक विद्यालय बौंगाड़ की छत उड़ गई और कालेटी गांव में मकान क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया है।

बागेश्वर में लगभग दो घंटे तक हुई बारिश से गाड़-गधेरे उफान पर आ गए और जिला मुख्यालय की सड़कों पर पानी भर गया। उत्तरकाशी जिले के दूरस्थ क्षेत्र चाइंसिल बुग्याल (पहाड़ में घास के मैदान) में आकाशीय बिजली गिरने से तीन लोग घायल हो गए। यमुनोत्री राजमार्ग जरड़ा खड्ड व सारीगाड़ के पास मलबा आने से करीब डेढ़ घंटे बाधित रहा।

अल्मोड़ा जिले की चौखुटिया तहसील के खीड़ा क्षेत्र में शनिवार देर रात बादल फटने से उफान पर आए बरसाती नालों ने खासा नुकसान पहुंचाया। दो दिन पहले भी चौखुटिया क्षेत्र में बादल फटा था। खीड़ा क्षेत्र में शनिवार May 27, 2017 देर रात दो घंटे तक मूसलाधार बारिश हुई, जिससे नदी-नाले उफान पर आ गए। बरसाती नाले बाखली ने बड़े पैमाने पर नुकसान पहुंचाया। गैर बाखली में कई घरों में मलबा घुसा। एक गोशाला ढह गई और वहां बंधे मवेशी मलबे में दब गए।

रविवार May 28, 2017 को भी पहाड़ी क्षेत्रों में बारिश, ओलावृष्टि ने दिक्कतें खड़ी किए रखीं। मुनस्यारी में होकरा और कोटाखड़िक मार्ग मलबा आने से बंद हो गए। पिथौरागढ़ के उच्च हिमालयी क्षेत्रों में हिमपात की खबर है। चमोली में दोपहर बाद गोपेश्वर, चमोली व पीपलकोटी क्षेत्र में करीब दो घंटे तक जोरदार बारिश हुई, जबकि बदरीनाथधाम में बूंदाबांदी। उत्तरकाशी में यमुनोत्री राजमार्ग डामटा व नौगांव की बीच शाम करीब पौने पांच बजे मलबा आने से अवरुद्ध हो गया। पौड़ी में तेज हवा के साथ झमाझम बारिश के बाद कई इलाकों की विद्युत आपूर्ति ठप हो गई है। ओलावृष्टि से औद्यानिकी फसलों को क्षति पहुंची है।

इस बार भी प्री मानसून बारिश से उत्तराखंड में तबाही का आलम है। चारधाम मार्ग पर लगातार बारिश से भू स्खलन हो रहे हैं और यात्रा प्रभावित हो रही है। उत्तराखण्ड के पर्वतीय जिलों चमोली, उत्तरकाशी, रुद्रप्रयाग, पिथौरागढ़ में 29 से 31 तक 72 घंटे भारी बारिश की चेतावनी दी गई। चार धाम यात्रा पर जाने वाले यात्रियों की सुरक्षा के लिहाज से सलाह दी गई है कि इन दिनों सुरक्षित स्थानों पर रुके रहे या मौसम को देखकर ही अपनी आगे की यात्रा को जारी रखे।

RENEWABLE ENERGY 

Centre Cabinet approves Raising of Bonds of Rs. 2360 cr The Union Cabinet on May 24, 2017 has given its approval to Raising of Bonds of Rs. 2360 crores for Renewable Energy. The Bonds will be raised by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) during the 2017-18.

SOUTH ASIA

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Sri Lanka Floods, landslides kill 122 people Floods and landslides in Sri Lanka’s southern and western regions have killed at least 122 people and damaged more than 1,700 homes, on May 27, 2017. According to the country’s Disaster Management Centre, 97 people were also reported missing, at least 40 others have been hospitalised, and over 400,000 people have been displaced after unusually heavy rain on May 26, 2017 triggered a string of mudslides and caused rivers to burst their banks. The flooding is the worst since May 2003 when 250 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed after a similarly powerful Southwest monsoon.

Nepal China’s Gezhouba lands Budhi Gandaki contract The govt on May 23, 2017has decided to award the contract to construct the 1200 Mw, Budhi Gandaki HEP to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC).  The Budhi Gandaki has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The project is presently engaged in acquiring land. More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, The project is expected to cost Rs250 billion.

EPF to be used for constructing 680-Mw Karnali HEP The govt has granted approval to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for the construction of 680-MW Karnali HEP. This is so far the first largest hydropower project on the funding of EPF after govt-funded Upper Tamakoshi Hydro.  The EPF would invest Rs 1.29 billion from its income of fiscal year 2015-16 in the first phase of the project. The average investment of the project would be Rs 80 billion. Around 40 per cent share of the total investment would be offered to the depositors of EPF in the project.

Tamakoshi 3 plant to be built under PPP model In Jan 2016, after spending Rs 100 crores since they got survey licence in March 2007, Norwegian company Statkraft quit the 650 MW Tamakoshi 3, since there was uncertainty about power market for the project. The power market has only become MORE uncertain since than. So why is the Investment Bank of Nepal venturing into this?

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3 companies bid for civil contract Three foreign companies have submitted their bids for the civil contract of 140MW Tanahu HEP, being developed by Tanahu Hydro Limited (THL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).  Out of the five prequalified companies, only three–China Gezhouba Group Corporation of China, CMC Ravenna of Italy and Jay Prakash Associates of India–submitted their bids in the final bidding process the deadline of which ended on May 17, according to the THL. The winning contractor will undertake the construction of first package which includes a detailed design and construction of headwork of the project. India’s JP is in race for civil contract for the 140 MW Tanahu HEP in Nepal.

Preparations over for PPA talks of Upper trishuli-I HEP The NEA has readied to start negotiations with Nepal Water and Energy Development Company (NWEDC) to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Upper Trishuli-1 Hydroelectric Project.  Korean joint venture NWEDC is the developer of the 216 MW hydroelectric project being built on the Trishuli River 70 km north of Kathmandu. State-owned power utility NEA has authorized a committee headed by its power trading department chief Prabal Adhikari to hold talks with NWEDC. Negotiations on for the 216 MW Upper Trishuli 1 HEP in Nepal.

Pakistan Hydro dams on Indus cascade may prove a blunder The five dams forming the North Indus River Cascade that China has just promised to finance and build in Pakistan — including Pakistan-administered Kashmir — has the potential to generate over 22,000 MW in an energy-starved country. But the dams will also stop the flow of silt which is the lifeline of agriculture downstream. In non-monsoon months from October to June, they may also reduce the flow of water down the Indus to Pakistan’s Punjab and Sindh provinces. More details about the Indus River Cascade that Pakistan plan to Build in cooperation with China.

Govt pays Rs787m for case on Kishenganga, Ratle disputes The govt has paid Rs787 million to a law firm for arbitration to settle the dispute on Kishenganga and Ratle hydropower projects against India. The budget documents say that the govt has extended Rs377.934 million to M/s Allen & Overy – a law firm for resolution of dispute on design of Kishenganga project being constructed by India on Jhelum River and Rs409 million for Ratle Hydropower Project also being constructed by India on the Chenab River.

Can the World’s Newest Multilateral Bank Learn Lessons in Pakistan? A blog on the Tarbela 5 project of Pakistan, one of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s first projects. The blog is based on report.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Global Is the world running out of sand  Key Points about SAND MINING across the WORLD:

– Sand is almost always formed through the gradual disintegration of bigger rocks, by the action of ice, water, wind, and time, but, as the geologist Michael Welland writes, in his book “Sand: The Never-Ending Story,” many of those bigger rocks were themselves formed from accumulations of the eroded bits of other rocks, and “perhaps half of all sand grains have been through six cycles in the mill, liberated, buried, exposed, and liberated again.”

– River sand is more angular. William H. Langer, a research geologist who retired from the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago and now works as a private consultant, told me, “In a stream, there’s a tiny film of water around each grain, so when the grains bang together there’s enough energy to break them apart but not enough to let them rub against each other.” The shape of sand deposited by glaciers and ice sheets depends partly on how far the sand was moved and what it was moved over.”

– One engineer I spoke to told me that transporting sand and stone for ordinary construction becomes uneconomical after about sixty miles, and that builders usually make do with whatever is available within that radius, even if it means settling for materials that aren’t ideal.

– Natural aggregate is the world’s second most heavily exploited natural resource, after water, and for many uses the right kind is scarce or inaccessible. In 2014, the United Nations Environment Programme published a report titled “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks,” which concluded that the mining of sand and gravel “greatly exceeds natural renewal rates” and that “the amount being mined is increasing exponentially, mainly as a result of rapid economic growth in Asia.”

– China’s swift development had consumed more sand in the previous four years than the United States used in the past century.

– In India, commercially useful sand is now so scarce that markets for it are dominated by “sand mafias”—criminal enterprises that sell material taken illegally from rivers and other sources, sometimes killing to safeguard their deposits.

– desert sand is also unsuitable for construction and, indeed, for almost any human use. The grains don’t have enough fractured faces for concrete and asphalt, and they’re too small and round for water-filtration systems.

– marine sand can usually be used to make concrete, as long as it’s been rinsed sufficiently to remove all the salt and other undesirable materials.

– Offshore sand dredging has been described as “submerged, open-pit strip mining.” It directly kills organisms that live or feed on the seafloor, including sea turtles, and it stirs up clouds of fine particles, which can suffocate fish by clogging their gills. Young told me that most of the specific effects are still unmeasured and unknown, because the places from which sand is taken are hard to monitor.

Latin America Big dam obsession Big dams in South America have long been seen as symbols of national pride, and evidence of economic progress.  But critics of big dams argue that many of them are monuments of injustice, political corruption and social inequity. Dam builders are increasingly on the back foot. Climate change increases the need for renewables, but because hydropower is widely used to cool power stations, any reduction in river flow caused by droughts only adds to the energy crisis. Once built, solar plants are cheaper than thermal power stations to operate. The era of big dam-building is not over, but technological progress and economies of scale now offer govts  alternatives that did not exist 20 years ago.

Report Water pollution leading to feminization of male fish The feminization of male fish, as a direct result of water pollution, is a continuing problem. According to researcher Natasha Gilbert, up to 86 per cent of male fish in some areas become femalelike as a result of exposure to widely-used contraceptives and anti-inflammatory drugs dumped into toilets and sinks. 

ENVIRONMENT

MoEF Harsh Vardhan assumes charge as Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology has been given the additional charge of new Environment Minister following  sudden demise of Shri Anil Madhav Dave. On assuming the post,  Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that air and water pollution is a matter of concern for the whole country, in general, and especially Delhi and NCR. See the profile of Dr. Harsh Vardhan here

Karnataka Govt bans planting eucalyptus What was adopted as a World Bank-aided project to supply firewood and timber to feed the rapidly unfolding urbanisation back in the 1980s has converted the districts of Bengaluru Rural, Kolar and Chikkaballapur into barren lands today. Seeing the adverse impact on groundwater table the govt has in Feb. 2017 banned creation of eucalyptus and acacia groves in Karnataka. World Bank’s sins have no end. Here is another one that is not so well known. Of course state and central govts are equally responsible. Now Yettinahole is being pushed to take waters to these very regions, destroying the western ghats, rivers and biodiversity, along with livelihoods of people.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 22 May 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017

 

One Comment on “DRP News Bulletin 29 May 2017 (Drought Options: Lessons from Rajasthan)

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