DRP News Bulletin 12 June 2017 (Rain Bearing Clouds Thinning Out Over India: IMD Study)

A recent IMD study has found that rain-bearing clouds have been thinning out across the country over the last 50 years. The study, published in the IMD journal Mausam, shows that between 1960 and 2010, annual mean low cloud cover (responsible for the bulk of the rainfall) over India has been decreasing by 0.45% per decade on an average.

According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade. This means that the country has lost approximately one rainy day over the last five decades. The study found that while the number of rainy days is decreasing, there is not much change in the total amount of rainfall. This shows a trend towards shorter, heavier bursts of rain.

That is bad news, because heavier raindrops can dislodge wheat and rice grains from their stalks while on the farm. It also means rainwater flows down a slope that much faster instead of percolating underground.

Meanwhile, a new NASA study has warned  the amount of rainfall in the Earth’s tropical regions will significantly increase as the planet continues to warm. As per study rainfall is not related just to the clouds that are available to make rain but also to Earth’s “energy budget” — incoming energy from the Sun compared to outgoing heat energy. High-altitude tropical clouds trap heat in the atmosphere. If there are fewer of these clouds in the future, the tropical atmosphere will cool.

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On the other hand, IMD has forecast that quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 98% of the LPA with an error of ± 4%.  IMD said rainfall during July and August will likely be 96% and 99% of the LPA, respectively. There is a 65% probability that rains will be normal to excess for the entire country, it added.

The weather office has ruled out the possibility of any strong El Nino developing during the latter half of the monsoon. Region wise, the season rainfall is likely to be 96% of LPA over North-West India, 100% of LPA over Central India, 99% of LPA over South Peninsula and 96% of LPA over North-East India all with a model error of ± 8%. The IMD attributed its projections to a weakening of El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole turning positive. Both factors are seen combining to boost the southwest monsoon. Last year, the IMD had predicted rainfall to be more than 106 per cent of the LPA in its first forecast. Actual rainfall was 97 per cent of the LPA.

HYDRO POWER

Centre More subsidies for destructive Hydro Projects The govt has reportedly decided to provide Rs 16,000 crore bailout package to the hydropower sector. Following this, shares of hydropower companies shot up in trading session on June, 09, 2017. This story speculates that Govt will use (most unjustifiably and inappropriately) the clean energy money to provide 4% interest subsidy to some 40 stranded hydropower projects with total capacity of 11639 MW, the subsidy to be provided could be to the the tune of USD 2.4 B (Rs 16709 crores). ITS DOUBTFUL IF THIS THIS WILL HELP PUSH THE UNVIABLE HYDRO PROJECTS.

Arunachal Pradesh People’s mandate reject Tawang hydel projects Seeking immediate winding up of all operations of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) in the Tawang district, 27 affected villages, 2 local MLAs and Tawang Monastery have rejected the Tawang Chu Stage I and II hydel projects through a clutch of gram sabha resolutions. The memorandum, submitted to CM Pema Khandu on June 5, 2017 contained resolutions signed by 80-100 per cent of villagers from each affected village. Under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006, NHPC needs the consent of the gram sabhas concerned to go ahead with the projects. Last May 2016, two people were killed and 10 injured in police firing at an anti-dam gathering in Tawang. Great News from Tawang, though shocking to see that the district administration and NHPC hopes to manipulate the situation.

Himachal Pradesh Civil groups air concerns over hydro projects In continuation to their prolonged struggle against unjustified hydro power projects, Himdhara, Him Lok Jagrati Manch and several other civil groups, on occasion of World Environment Day have raised their concerns over damage to fragile ecology and tribal areas by hydro projects built and going on in the State.  

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Also see,  किन्नौर में बादल फटने से मची भारी तबाही, कई गाड़ियां और मवेशी लापता  

DAMS

Karnataka Complication of silt trapped in Tungabhadra dam Ever since the dam came into operation in 1953, 37 tmft silt has accumulated inside it. As per State Water Minister a massive 76 acres of land is required to dump the silt at 10 feet height along with thousands of crores of rupees. It’s worth to mention that, successive govts have ignored the engineers’ recommendation of removing 0.5 per cent of silt on annual basis. Now, Facing scarcity, farmer groups have voluntarily deployed 100 tractors and 10 earth movers to desilt the dam since May 18, 2017. But, terming farmers initiative as futile, Water Minister says that they can only remove 0.11% of the total silt.

In 2015, CWC’s compendium on silting of reservoirs showed that Tungabhadra dam is the second most affected dam in the country after Bhakra dam in Punjab.  Roughly silts collected over the years in all the dams, is depriving state of 10 per cent of their storage capacity.  While the siltation problems narrated seems like an understatement, it is alarming that solution offered is another dam!

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Polavaram Dam Work on at snail pace, courts mum over petitions It seems like there is almost no progress on the crucial R&R front. Strangely, when the project does not have approval of the affected states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and when petitions are pending, the courts are doing nothing. Meanwhile CM on June 08, 2017 is learnt to have laid the foundation stone for the construction of coffer dam at the Polavaram project site in West Godavari district. Also see, some figures about work on Polavaram Dad.

HARELA Group Pancheshwar Dam, A Dilemma A heart touching documentary on Pancheswar Dam, Kali River and its effects on local people and environment. This is going to the highest dam in Uttarakhand state, with a capacity of 4800 Mw electricity. Over 75000 people will get affected, and over 19 villages of Indian side will need rehabilitation, while Nepal will have to rehabilitate 19 villages. Please watch, do put your comments, suggestions and if you like it do share it.

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam ED tightening noose on Ajit Pawar The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is learnt to have written to the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) seeking probe details against former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and has also sought information regarding his linkages to the other accused in the Irrigation Scam. Meanwhile in the case of the Balganga dam, the ED had registered a money laundering case, it was also probed by the ACB. The ACB in its charge sheet of the Balganga dam had not named Pawar, but it had also not given a clean chit to the politician. The ED had been asked to investigate the money trail in the payments given to the contractor, which had in turned been invested into nine of his companies and check if Pawar had any links with these firms. There is another report which shows why action is justified against Ajit Pawar, but one more report says that the action may not happen soon. 

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Let us understand Conflict of Interest! In continuing debate about the conflict of interest issue involved in Mr Sharad Jain holding the post of EAC Chairman and NWDA DG, we have provided detailed reply to the response of Dr Jain over email and in Indian Express. Feedback is welcome. Please share and help spread the word. Responding to the letter, refuses any conflict of interest and thus to step down as NWDA chairman. It’s a futile attempt by NWDA chief to cling to the chair.

Also, watch this short film to know the plight of farmers in the Bundelkhand district of Panna, Madhya Pradesh. Their agony on knowing that water that is rightfully theirs from their river the beautiful Ken, will go away to the Betwa, thanks to the ill- conceived river linking Ken- Betwa project. This film shows how Ken Betwa project is such an injustice to Panna (and by implication all upstream areas). Please watch and share to help spread the word.

Meanwhile in a surprising development, projects affecting Naurandehi Wild Life Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh are being cleared even as there is promise to add them to compensate for the loss of Panna Tiger Reserve for the Ken Betwa Link. Also see, Pani Post report,  गठजोड़ हुआ, तो पन्ना टाइगर रिज़र्व का नाश तय

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Kamla Barrage Row Odisha questions blocking of Mahanadi water The Odisha govt on June 05, 2017 has contradicted Chhattisgarh’s claim of status quo at Kalma barrage for the past six months. It accused the neighbouring state of arbitrarily closing the barrage gates curtailing water inflow into Hirakud reservoir. As per Odisha, Chhattisgarh is frequently resorting to complete closure of the 66 gates for sizable time periods in the name of changing gate bays resulting in reduced inflow to Hirakud dam. In another development relating to Mahanadi, Union minister Jual Oram has said that the BJD is non-serious on Mahanadi issue. Odisha raises questions about how Chhattisgarh is blocking water flow to Hirakud using the KALMA barrage to divert water.

Mahadayi Row Bandh over river dispute Pro-Kannada organisations call for statewide shutdown over Mahadayi river dispute and drinking water crisis. They have called for a state-wide low-key bandh in lieu of early implementation of the Mahadayi river water dispute and to press for a number of demands. The main demand is PM Modi’s intervention in the Mahadayi river dispute, other demands include farm loan waiver and a permanent solution to the water scarcity problem in parched areas.  

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Jammu and Kashmir Rivers Profile This report discusses a few of the significant issues in the Jhelum and Chenab basin two of the main tributaries of the Indus and provides the readers a snapshot of the issues confronting the water resources development in the basins. On the basis of these factors, the health and status of the Jhelum and Chenab basins is determined using an assessment matrix providing qualitative weights to each of the indicators and influencing factors to arrive at the overall score of the river categorizing a riverscape as healthy, sick and dying.

Goa All rivers in State are grossly polluted As per State Pollution Control Board recent report almost all the rivers in the state are polluted and water availability is increasingly being threatened due to rampant pollution from untreated domestic sewage and industrial effluents flowing into the rivers making the water unfit for drinking or any other purpose.

NARMADA Sardar Sarovar Dam Row Ralley for Narmada Valley Thousands of dam oustees gathered at a general assembly in the submergence zone village of Nisarpur on June 07, 2017 as part of a three-day ‘Rally for the Valley’. The large gathering joined hands with the people of the Narmada Valley in their struggle against forceful displacement without proper rehabilitation. At rally NBA says that Centre, with Narendra Modi at its helm, has been pressing for completion for the dam and closing gates to reap political benefits before impending assembly elections.

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Around 2 pm during the protest march NBA leader Medha Patkar, Goldman Environmental Prize winner Prafulla Samantara, and several other activists were arrested by the Gujarat Police at Gujarat Border in Chhota Udaipur district. Following the arrest of Patkar and other activists, the Gujarat police “turned violent and detained all the protestors, dragged women protesters, beaten up two children Kaamil and Hasim of Salsabeel Green School studying in 9th and 8th standard.” Meanwhile, NBA has filed a detailed complaint with Nanpur police station against the “brutal and unconstitutional attacks” carried out by the Gujarat Police.

Meanwhile there are reports that a top Gujarat activist, Lakhan Musafir, is under detention for 3 days and there is no information on his whereabouts. He is NBA sympathiser and fighting for the rehabilitation of dam oustees. According to sources, the police did not produce him before the magistrate even though it is required to do it within 24 hours of detention to prove the reason behind detention. Is this the real face of Gujarat? Illegal detentions, brutality, intolerance to protests.

According to Counter View report Gujarat govt filing false affidavits before court to show that best rehabilitation of Narmada dam oustees achieved. This is indeed so true, the pity is that the Courts are also allowing the govt to get away with the lies.

Similarly, acting upon of SC orders six teams of experts has reportedly visited Barwanni district on June 07-09, 2017 to assess rehabilitation work. But local people there were not informed of the visits and did not get an occasion to contribute to the process, a press release. This is such complete lack of transparency even in issues of rehabilitation. How is our judiciary allowing the Dam authorities get away with this??

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AMID THIS, HUGE CRACKS IN NARMADA PROJECT’S KUTCH CANAL 15 DAYS AFTER PM INAUGURATED IT WITH MUCH FANFARE.

Gujarat  Oil PSUs arm twisted to pay Rs 200 cr for Patel statue Following instructions from the Petroleum Ministry, oil and gas PSUs will pay at least Rs 200 crore for the Statue of Unity, the 182-metre-tall statue being installed at the Sadhu Bet island, 3.5 km south of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat. While Oil & Natural Gas Corp and Indian Oil Corp will contribute Rs 50 crore each out of CSR funds, other profit-making public sector undertakings have been told to pay Rs 25 crore each. Now oil PSUs are being arm twisted, after Gujarat PSUs, to provide crores for this totally unjustified, destructive project, everything about the project is so illegal.

GANGA SANDRP Blog About Matri Sadan fight against illegal mining It is a matter of grave concern that State Govt has so far remains unresponsive to the plea of communities, civil society groups and experts raising voice against unscientific mining practices in Ganga. It is good that NMCG has timely intervened] in the matter and assured Matri Sadan strict actions against violators. Respecting to the Matri Sadan efforts and concerned raised by experts and environmentalists, the Union Environment Ministry must form a credible and independent committee to study the whole issue thoroughly and must stop all mining activities in Ganga till then. Contrary to this, in a strange move, several other religious bodies in Haridwar have also come in open against blanket ban on mining in Ganga.

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Study Ganga carries 115,000 tonnes of plastic waste to sea A recent study now claims that Asian countries are the biggest culprits when it comes to polluting our waterways. As per the study, rivers carry an estimated 1.15-2.41 million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year, an amount that need between 48,000 to over 100,000 dump trucks to carry it away. It also added that two-thirds of the pollution comes from the 20 most polluting rivers, the overwhelming majority in Asia where China’s Yangtze River tops that list, dumping approximately 333,000 tonnes of plastic into the East China Sea every year. India meanwhile comes in distant second, with just the Ganga river responsible for 115,000 tonnes of plastic output, with another Chinese river, Xi, coming in third. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean, costing at least $8 billion damage to marine ecosystems and killing an estimated one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and untold numbers of fish. GANGA MENTIONED AMONG LEADING RIVERS FEEDING PLASTIC WASTE INTO OCEANS. VERY SAD WORLD RIVERS FAST TURNING INTO PLASTIC WASTE CARRIERS.

Center Funds for STPs approved The NMCG has approved funds worth Rs 1,900 crore for the creation of STPs in Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar and the national capital. Out of the allocated sum, Rs 344.81 have been earmarked for Delhi, to be used in the construction of 7 STPs with a total capacity of 94 MLD in the Najafgarh area on a priority basis, under the Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna project, initiated by NGT. 

Apart from Delhi, the NMCG has also approved projects for 100% STPs in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Varanasi and Allahabad for the creation of sewage treatment infrastructure. In the case of Allahabad, a comprehensive project of interception, diversion and treatment of sewage in Naini, Phaphamau and Jhunsi sewerage zones, at a cost of Rs 767.59 crore, has been approved. This would include construction of a 42 MLD STP at Naini and building eight sewage pumping stations, among other works. In Patna, the project envisages construction of three STPS with 60 MLD capacity and laying of sewerage lines at an estimated cost of about Rs 744 crore. With these approvals, Patna’s sewage treatment capacity is expected to increase to 200 MLD.

Uttar Pradesh Shifting of pollution is no river cleaning  This is very sad that to make the Gomati river look clean in Lucknow, Irrigation Department planning to intercept 29 drains and by pass the pollution out of city area, without thinking of impact on people dependent on river water in downstream areas. Once it is done, about 21.57 cumec sewage discharge will flow in the downstream. This is a very serious issue for districts which come in the downstream region of Gomti. People in Barabanki, Jaunpur and Ghazipur, among other districts, are dependent on this water for consumption. The pollution in the Gomti is a big risk to their health.

This is shocking and revealing: Within Lucknow, a total of 37 drains flow into the Gomti. Of these, only 29 are tapped and sent to Bharwara STP. The remaining eight are untapped and flow directly into the river. After treatment, the sewage water is again channelised into Gomti in downstream area. Since most pumps of Bharwara are old and worn out, they are unable to treat sewage completely, resulting in untreated sewage water flowing into Gomti’s downstream.

Beer giants warned against Kali pollution On June, 08, 2017 NGT has directed distilleries brands Sabmiller India and United Spirits Ltd in Meerut not to discharge effluents in nearby drains joining river Kali East and strictly comply with environmental norms and warned them that failure to follow norms would result in their closure. Kali East originates from Antwada village in Muzaffarnagar district and flows through 8 districts before its confluence with River Ganga near Kannauj.

WETLANDS

Gujarat HC files PIL for wetlands preservation In a remarkable development, Gujarat high court on June 07, 2017 has taken suo motu cognizance of the issue of protection of wetlands in Gujarat and filed a PIL in this regard. In the very next hearing on following day the court has sought a reply from the state authorities concerned over measures taken to preserve Gujarat’s main wetland, the Nalsarovar bird sanctuary on 12,000 ha. and regarding its present condition.  Next hearing on the issue will take place on July 12. Gujarat has 17.56% of its area under wetlands but this is shrinking. The Banni grassland and Nal Sarovar are the largest wetlands in the state.

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National Urbanisation destroying wetlands across the country Good to see the report covering all the prominent lakes (Bellandur, Sukhna, Dal, Naini) across country which have recently been in news for their degradation. It highlights that from North to South, wetlands and lakes in India are victims of rapid urbanization. First its encroaching on water bodies and their catchments and in turn dumping toxic waste (liquid and solids) in them. True: “According to S Vishwanath, a water expert, focus of reform efforts should not be on the appearance of the city’s lakes so much as on building up wetlands and improving the health of the whole surrounding environment.

Punjab Plight of Kanjli wetland Spread over 183 ha., Kanjli wetland, once a world-famous picnic place, is now a classic example of govt neglect. The wetland is a part of the Kali Bein, a holy rivulet associated with Guru Nanak. It came into existence in 1870 with the construction of head works on the rivulet. The site got recognition in 2012 under the Ramsar Convention and till 2004 it was a well-maintained spot. Apart from Kanjli wetland, Satluj wetland in Ropar and Hari-Ke-Pattan in Amritsar are the only 3 Ramsar recognised wetlands in state.

WATER OPTIONS

Andhra Pradesh Women farmers starts a millet revolution After six months of introspection, the farmers in the Anantapur district have come up with ways to beat the ongoing drought. In Diguvapalli, which has a population of 100 families using 200 acres of land for cultivation, farmers have decided to dedicate 100 acres exclusively for millets, which consume less water than other commercial crops. Specifically, the farmers have decided to focus on bhajra, foxtail and small millets to beat the continuous and seemingly worsening drought.

Maharashtra Competition encourages watershed management Nidhi Jamwal about Paani Foundation Water Cup Competition in Maharashtra for the second year, 2017, this time many more villages are participating than first edition in 2016.   

Video Natural springs Heritage of Pahad This documentary film about the crisis of natural water springs in Uttarakhand are facing and how the community is working for Naule- Dhare. Also see, the documentary ”REMEMBER THE SPRINGS’ highlights the issue of safe drinking water in the Himalayas. Himalayas is the origin of rivers and streams which provides water needs of approximately 40 % of Earth’s population. Yet the situation of safe drinking water in the region itself is increasingly becoming a huge cause of concern.

GROUND WATER

MoWR Committee to check groundwater depletion Speaking during ‘Ganga Chaupal’ program at Narora in Uttar Pradesh on June 05, 2017, Union Water Minister, Uma Bharati has stated that soon a committee would be formed comprising Rural Development Secretary, Water Resource Secretary and Environment Secretary to tackle the issue of groundwater depletion.

Some facts: Total replenishable groundwater resource in the Ganga basin is 170.99 billion cubic metres (BCM). Ganga basin alone accounts for nearly 40 % of the country’s total replenishable groundwater resource of the country which is 433 BCM. Net ground water availability is 398 BCM. The annual groundwater draft (a reasonable release of discharge) is 245 BCM (as on 31st March 2017) and out of total 6607 assessed units (blocks, mandals, districts) as many as 1071 units are ‘over-exploited’, 217 units are ‘critical’, 697 units are ‘semi-critical’ and 4530 are ‘safe’. Apart from these, there are 92 assessment units which were found to be completely saline.

Gujarat Solar Cooperative no solution for groundwater crisis To say that solar powered cooperative provides incentives for farmers to use less groundwater seems such a convoluted logic. Would farmer go for saving or optimising his crop or try to save solar power so that he gets a little extra return from selling the saved electricity?

Haryana Gurugram daily drawing 4cr litres groundwater illegally Informative piece: Ever since Gurugram was founded, private establishments and developers, and now even residents, have been guzzling groundwater without realising the need to harvest the resource.

Some Facts:

  • During the last 20 years, groundwater level has declined across the district, at a rate of 0.77-1.2m per year. For the record, the city’s groundwater fell 16 metres in 10 years to 34.84 metres below ground level in 2015, from 18.77 in 2005.
  • Total demand of water in Gurugram is 369 MLD including 270 MLD for domestic and 99 MLD for industrial purposes. This is with an estimate that the city’s current population is 20 lakh, which in reality is likely to be more.
  • Water is supplied to the city from 2 treatment plants — Basai 225 MLD and Chandu Budhera 99 MLD. While registered tubewells extract about 5 MLD. So there is a gap of 40 MLD, which is met by water tankers through illegal borewells. That is 4 crore litres, which is equivalent to the need of nearly 3 lakh people going by the standard per capita consumption of 135 litres a day.
  • As per an estimate Gurgaon has at least 20,000 illegal borewells and HUDA supply doesn’t meet 60% of the demand in summers.
  • Presently, the city has only 1,000 RWH pits that work for not more than 20-25 days a year. 

DELHI & NCR WATER

Water scarcity amid adequate availability According CM Delhi has a population of about 2 crore and on average, 900 MGD of water is being treated daily. A simple calculation would show that each citizen should then get 170 litres per day. However, the simple calculation done by the CM will not hold weight since more than 40% of all the water treated is lost through leakages, theft, etc. In that case, what is being supplied is barely 450-500 MGD.

Gurugram 40 of 75 drinking water samples fail quality test Samples were collected from 13 sites, including govt schools near the civil hospital however private schools were not covered. While 40 failed to clear the quality test, the rest of the samples were marked suspect. The test results have added to the residents’ worries at a time the number of patients suffering from water-borne diseases has increased by 30% in the city. Till May, this year, 13,420 patients were admitted to govt hospitals because of diseases related to poor water quality. In May alone, the civil hospital reported as many as 2,345 diarrhoea cases.

Noida Dirty water supply Residents of Sector 51 have claimed that they have been receiving ‘muddy’ and ‘black’ water supply for the last one month and the problem is yet to be fixed despite repeated complaints to the Noida authority.

ENERGY OPTIONS

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Centre Govt clears IREDA public issue The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the PM Narendra Modi, has given its approved issue 13.90 crore fresh equity shares of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) of Rs.10 each to the public on a book-building basis through the IPO. Following the CCEA approval, it will take 180 days to list IREDA, which is state-owned non-banking financial firm.

The Public issue of equity will enable IREDA to increase its equity base which will help them raise more debt resources for funding RE projects. Under the listing proposal, IREDA will issue fresh 13.90 crore shares, increasing the paid up share capital of the company from Rs 784 crore to Rs 923 crore.

At present the company has 78.46 crore equity shares. IREDA has plans to disburse Rs 13,000 crore for clean energy projects this fiscal and vying for around 20 per cent of the loan market share for such projects.

With the govt aiming at adding around 15 to 16 GW of clean energy projects, there would be total credit market size of around Rs 65,000 crore this fiscal. IREDA has sanctioned around Rs 37,000 crore of credit for clean energy projects in the country so far and has released around Rs 28,000 crore to developers, which aids generation capacity of around 7,000 MW.

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan Dams, hydro projects destroying fish habitat As per a new study hydropower dams, road construction and mining along the rivers, extraction of sand from the riverbed and introduction of exotic or alien species for harvesting pose serious threat to fishes. The study underlines that dams lead to obstruction of fish migration within feeding, spawning and refugee habitats and dam water favours environment for the establishment of other non-native species. The study began in April 2015 and it has surgically implanted 100 fishes, 70 golden and 30 chocolate mahseers, with a radio transmitter so far. The fishes were released in the Drangmechu.

Some important points:

  • Fish is one of the least studied and threatened fauna in the country.
  • Fish is protected in Bhutan by the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan 1995 and Forest and Nature Conservation Rules of Bhutan 2016.
  • There are 104 species of fishes recorded in the country so far, of which 93 species are indigenous and 11 species are exotic imported species.
  • Bhutan ranks 6th in terms of per capita internal freshwater resources with 0.102 million cubic meters including five major and five minor river system stretching about 7,200 km.
  • The Golden and Chocolate mahseers migrate long distances of more than 25kms in two days. The research also showed that not all Mahseers migrate to India in winter.
  • The conservation status of fishes in Bhutan is yet to be evaluated at the national level and most of the information pertaining to conservation status are being adopted by IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

IWT Competition over mighty Indus river Fast-growing populations and increasing demand for hydropower and irrigation in each country means the Indus is coming under intense pressure. Basin countries have also not been forthcoming in sharing data and announcing planned hydropower projects ahead of time. Title is misleading, this does not provide good picture of what the basin countries are doing, even on Indus treaty, it provides a list of limitations, but some places it is not particularly accurate.

Nepal Opposition to award Budhigandaki project to Chinese company Demanding to scrap the agreement, leader of Naya Shakti and former Prime Minister, Baburam Bhattarai has said that the decision of Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led govt to award the contract to construct 1200 Mw Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project to China’s Gezhouba Group Corporation was against the nation’s interest. A Cabinet meeting on May 23, 2017 had approved the Energy Ministry’s proposal in principle to let the Chinese company build the project.

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International Rivers Photo Journey Along the Salween River The Salween River holds a unique place among the world’s great rivers, not only due to its vibrant ecosystem and the rich biodiversity that it supports, but also because it remains largely untouched by human interventions, including dams. The majority of the river continues to flow freely. The Salween is home to a large number of diverse ethnic communities. Despite decades of armed conflict and forced displacement, the Salween River has remained a constant home, a source of livelihood, food security, culture and identity for thousands of communities.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Global Activists risking life and limb to protect rivers For these activists — and the other 85 participants from over 35 countries — the River Gathering in March was just the beginning. This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. The participants also shared ongoing experiences with harassment and intimidation for their opposition to destructive hydropower projects. Meet four activists who are risking life and limb to keep rivers free. India’s Jiten of Manipur deservedly features in this commentary.

UK Privatisation of public services a national failure The way our rail, energy and water industries have been run since they were sold off by the Conservatives is an absolute scandal. Labour’s manifesto pledge to take back control of water and rail, and to step in to fix the broken energy markets, is radically exciting and will be truly transformative. Good to see this is an election issue in UK.

At the same time, one more study question water privatization saying consumers in England are paying £2.3bn more a year for their water and sewerage bills under the current privatised system than if the utility companies had remained in state ownership. As per report England is the only country to have fully privatised its water and sewerage system, with ownership transferred from the state to large regional monopolies in 1989. But across Europe, there has been a wave of renationalisations as cities including Paris and Berlin have taken water and sewer systems back under local authority control as outsourcing contracts come to an end.

CLIMATE CHANGE

US Impact of climate change becoming stronger Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow island in the bayous of southeastern Louisiana is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to around 100 people. Since 1955, the island has lost 98% of its land. On the other side of the US, Newtok a small village of approximately 350 people on the Ninglick river on the western edge of Alaska faces similar troubles ahead. In Newtok, rising seas and melting permafrost caused by climate change have meant the Ninglick is gradually eroding the land. US is relocating an entire town because of climate change.

UK Bridges could be at risk from rising sea levels Experts say climate change could be raising the flood risk, causing inland bridges to act as a dam during bad storms, sending waves of floodwater into cities upstream.  

ENVIRONMENT

NGT Heads of 9 state pollution control boards barred from working In a strong, surprising but welcome and much required decision, the NGT has ordered chiefs of SPCBs of nine states including Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra to stop their functioning. The green panel, has granted three months to Delhi govt and two months to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for making appointments to their pollution control boards as per the guidelines issued by it. The matter is listed for next hearing on July 4, 2017. 

The NGT had in August 2016 has asked the state governments to fill the vacancies in the boards as per the guidelines laid down by it and file the report. Earlier, the NGT had issued notices to the states and chairpersons of their pollution control boards who have not been appointed as per the norms laid down by it. The tribunal also reiterated that concept of adhocism in appointments has to go and only qualified person with fixed tenure should be appointed.

The judgement had come on a plea by Uttarakhand resident Rajendra Singh Bhandari, who had challenged the constitution of state pollution control boards on the ground that people who did not qualify were appointed as chairman, member secretary and members of these boards. According to the plea, these appointments are bound to affect environmental issues seriously in as much as the grant of consents under Prevention and Control of Pollution Act and the entire regulatory regime depended on the effective working of these boards.

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WED 2017 UN get the World Environment Day theme wrong? Nitin Sethi shows why UN may have erred at least as far as India is concerned in selecting the theme of World Environment Day 2017. Also see, WED special report by Dainik Jagran featuring SANDRP co-ordinator. 

Report Meet the Forest Man of India Jadav “Molai” Payeng is a Mishing tribe environmental activist and forestry worker from Jorhat, India. Over the course of several decades, he planted and tended trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a forest reserve. The forest, called Molai forest after him, is located near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam and encompasses an area of about 1,360 acres. In 2015, he was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India. This story has been told earlier, but worth listening to again.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 05 June 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 29 May 2017  

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