DRP News Bulletin 03 July 2017 (Panna Villagers Oppose Ken-Betwa Link Project)

In the month of June 2017 several villages in Panna district Madhya Pradesh have opposed the controversial Ken-Betwa interlinking project. According to locals the project will destroy the Ken River which is the life line of area. Numbers of Village Panchayats have sent their memorandums to District Collector citing negative impact of the project on Panna Tiger Reserve. Many individuals and social groups including trader’s body have also criticized the project. As per locals, Panna district lacks irrigation facilities but the project proposes to transfer Ken river water to other areas. Local political parties have also supported the villagers opposition.

KBL Letters 1

Similarly worried over the scale of destruction, a group of concerned people in Panna have recently organized a meeting on the issue. Discussing the side effects of the project, the group fears that Ken Betwa interlinking project will make the Ken River dry and as a result ground water level in the area will also go down. The people revealed that there is no surplus water in the river on the basis of which the project was planned. They also cited several shortcomings in the planning of the project and stated that downstream impacts of the project has not been studied at all. The group has collectively decided to take up necessary actions to convey their opposition to the project. 

KBL Letters 2

Copies of resolutions by Panna villagers, individuals and traders body opposing the Ken-Betwa link project. 

HYDRO POWER

SANDRP Blog India’s hydro power generation drops below 10% for first time For the FIRST TIME IN INDEPENDENT INDIA’S HISTORY, hydropower generation from large hydropower projects in India in 2016-17 year fell below 10% of total electricity generation and is likely to go further down in years to come. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/indias-hydro-generation-drops-to-below-10-for-the-first-time/

Karnataka Small Dams, Big Problems – Join the Campaign Due to the false presumption that SHPs have minimal or no adverse impact, they have been exempt from requiring environmental clearances thus far. Massive subsidies and financial incentives are also offered to make these projects viable to the private sector. Hence, over 1266 SHPs have been commissioned and an additional 6474 sites have been identified for further SHP development, most of which fall within the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats and Himalayan landscapes.Campaign against small hydro in western ghats (SANDRP was involved in drafting the petition).  http://www.conservationindia.org/campaigns/small-dams-big-problems

Industry Making unviable hydro projects viable A s per a ASSOCHAM-PwC study, several hydropower projects with a cumulative capacity of about 13,363 Mw are stranded at various stages of project development, resulting in significant time and cost overruns worth Rs. 52,697 crore as of Dec 2016. While this ASSOCHAM-PwC study implies that hydropower currently is not viable, its recommendation to somehow or make is viable with huge subsidies is clearly self serving and is not going to help. Its characterisation of people’s movements as local issues or law & order problem is so insulting to the people. Earlier we realise that big hydro is no longer viable, better it will be. http://www.abplive.in/india-news/hydropower-projects-with-13-363-mw-capacity-register-cost-overruns-worth-over-rs-52k-crore-says-study-545240?ani

Report ADB could fund unjustified hydro projects in Himalayan states The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on June 30, 2017 articulated its willingness to fund projects in India’s north eastern states that abut China.This is significant because previously multilateral lending agencies, including the World Bank, have been unwilling to fund projects in the so-called disputed border states of India.  This could be problematic for Himalayan states, pushing unjustifiable hydro projects. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/Cpu19wZ5h3TUj1cylfNGNJ/ADB-signals-funding-approach-shift-to-Indian-states-borderin.html

DAMS

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Study Damming rivers water impacts fish diversity  A new study has found that dams and other barriers across rivers in the Western Ghats do affect fish species and their recovery downstream. However, barrier-free tributaries that drain in to these rivers can help fish recover even in dammed stretches; protecting such tributaries could be crucial to maintaining fish diversity in the Western Ghats. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/damming-river-water-impacts-fish-diversity/article19140868.ece

Telangana Land acquisition brings Pranahita project to a standstill Work on Pranahita barrage has not started despite the foundation stone being laid almost a decade ago owing to delays in land acquisition. Meanwhile, the estimated cost of the project, which has been de-linked from the originally-planned Rs. 38,000-crore Dr. B.R. AmbedkarPranahita-ChevellaSujalaSravanthi, has tripled from its initial cost of Rs. 692 crore in 2008. There has also been design modification in that the location of the barrage has been moved right up to the inter-State border with Maharashtra where the river Pranahita originates. It is worth to mention that the project has almost none of the statutory clearances the media should have highlighted that. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/work-on-pranahita-barrage-faces-hiccups/article19147676.ece

Chhattishgarh Kalma barrage gates opened without informing Odisha While both the States were locked face off recently over non-release of water from the barrage by Chhattisgarh Government, the latest decision to empty the reservoir following widespread rains in the upstream of Hirakud Dam Reservoir (HDR) has left Odisha inflame.Odisha says Chhattisgarh, without informing the former, opened 46 gates of the Kalma barrage, affecting the downstream state. http://pragativadi.com/chhattisgarh-releases-flood-water-puts-odisha-vulnerable-condition/ As per latest reports, Odisha has written to CWC against Chhattisgarh move to open gates of Kalma barrage on Mahanadi without informing the downstream state. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-moves-cwc-over-releasing-water-into-hirakud-by-chhattisgarh/articleshow/59390506.cms 

IRRIGATION

MoWR Thrust on irrigation will not stop farm suicides The Union Minister is clearly wrong, as is apparent from what is going on Maharashtra, the state with largest number of big irrigation dams. Big irrigation projects will certainly help the contractors and other vested interests, but wont help reduce farmer suicides. But some revealing statements:

– She said the implementation of the 99 irrigation projects by 2020, at an investment of Rs 77,595 crore, will contribute to stopping farmers’ suicides.

– In 2017, the ministry is aiming to complete 23 projects which will be able to irrigate 1.453 million hectares of land.

– Bharti said that the Ken-Betwa link project, “is a pet project of PM.  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/uma-bharti-says-thrust-on-irrigation-will-stop-farm-suicides/articleshow/59220407.cms

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Goa Gadakari terms activists as hurdle to development Union minister Nitin Gadkariwhile addressing the annual general meeting of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Panaji on June 24, 2017 has said that “there is a microscopic minority in Goa is anti-development and proving to be an obstacle for various projects.”How absolutely frivolous and shallow of Mr. Gadkari to say so, without understanding the concerns behind “nationalisation” and dredging of rivers in Goa. As per report, central govt has sanctioned Rs 40 crore to carry out dredging in Zuari and Mandovi rivers. http://www.india.com/news/agencies/microscopic-minority-in-goa-opposed-to-development-gadkari-2268603/

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog The State of Aghanashini river estuary Aghanashini –is a small village situated on the southern bank of Aghanashini River in the Kumtataluka of Uttar Kannada district in Karnataka state. River Aghanashini draws its name from this village, it is also known as Tadri river as Tadri village is situated on the river mouth on the north bank. Aghanashini is one of the last remaining free flowing rivers in the country, a gem in the world Heritage Site of the Western Ghats and it deserves protection in its form for the current and future generations.https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/the-state-of-the-aghanashini-river-estuary/

NARMADA SardarSarovar Dam Blatant lies by Gujarat water resources minister In an interview NanuVanani, State Water Minister has said that Sauni project would get one MAF floodwater from SardarSarovar Dam. He also said that the dam gets over 28 MAF water and Gujarat was allotted 9 MAF. As per minister there was additional 4 MAF. This is plain lie Narmada dam does not get 28 MAF water, nor was there any decision about 4 MAF extra water in fact Narmada River does not have even 28 MAF water at 75% dependability, as decided by NWDT. It has about 23 MAF and so the Dam would not even get Gujarat + Rajasthan share of 9.5 MAF water in 75% years if MP were to use its share of 18 MAF water, which MP is moving fast for. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/interview-minister-of-state-for-water-resources-independent-charge-nanu-vanani-closing-narmada-dam-floodgates-will-not-affect-sauni-yojana-4725391/

Meanwhile on his two days visit to Gujarat following completion of SSD project Prime Minister NarendraModi has said that Narmada (dam) project is truly a big achievement. The next decade will be a journey to convert this achievement into prosperity. And I am confident that Gujarat will touch new heights under BJP’s leadership during the next ten years with this project at the core. This statement is useful for future reference, when he says Gujarat, who is included in that? http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-narmada-project-will-take-gujarat-to-new-heights/articleshow/59366726.cms

GANGA Uttarakhand Govt reaches SC against living statusUttarakhand (and possibly centre) has filed petition in Supreme Court, praying for a stay on Uttarakhand High Court decision of March 20, 2017 giving living persons status to Ganga and Yamuna. The Special Leave Petition says that the HC had erred as Ganga and Yamuna are interstate rivers and state officers jurisdiction does not run in other basin states, that they cannot stop people from bathing in the river, since that too harms the river, among other reasons. Uttarakhand govt had earlier welcomed the HC decision. It is not clear what the centre has said in its petition to the Supreme Court. This is on expected lines.http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttarakhand-doesnt-want-living-person-status-for-ganga-yamuna-4723578/

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MoWR Wide gap in sewage generation and treatment capacity While reviewing achievements of three year, water ministry has shared information on various ongoing projects like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Sardar Sarovar Dam, Ken-Betwa Link, Groundwater Depletion, Koel Dam project, Pancheshwar Dam Project etc. The PIB release of the ministry also provides data on national mission for clean Ganga. Going by the figures it appear that there is huge gap between sewerage generation and installed treatment capacity in the cities located along the National River in different States. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=165747 

SAND MINING

Tamil Nadu Public participation not faith in tech will check illegal mining Online purchase of sand for construction purposes has been made compulsory by the govt from July 1, 201. Following this, both truck owners involved in distribution of sand as well as the general public have to register online for purchasing sand.Will this help stop illegal and unsustainable sand mining and stop operations of sand mafias? Our governments seem to have much more faith in technology rather than fixing governance through participatory processes. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/tamil-nadu-online-purchase-of-sand-compulsory-from-july-1-4726285/

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Gujarat Saving Sangam from mining Very interesting story: It is a unique hydrological occurrence where three rivers–the Hiren, the Kapil and the Saraswati–are known to meet before they flow into the Arabian Sea.Till about 10 years ago, this confluence was rich in biodiversity. A wide array of birds including flamingos perched on undulating sandbars in this coastal riverbed. It was a visual treat and a way of life for several of us growing up in rural areas of GirSomnath district of Gujarat.

It ends with a hope: A systematic method, which included evidence, persistent follow up, use of law and a clearly articulated demand seemed to have worked. Today, sand mining has stopped and we are slowly seeing the TriveniSangam coming back to life. While some of us have found our memories again, others have gained faith in working together to find solutions.http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/saving-sangam-mining

Uttar Pradesh Families look for answers after two children found dead TRAGIC fall out of opposition to sand mining by a poor farmer on the banks of Ghaghra river stream in Baharaichdist in UP. Opposition to sand mining was in his own land that leads to possible killing of two kids. Lawlessness in UP is reaching new depths.http://indianexpress.com/article/india/scouring-the-sand-families-look-for-answers-after-two-children-found-dead-in-up-village-4731228/

WETLANDS

RAMSAR International Wetlands for disaster risk reduction Good to see Ramsar convention coming out with this policy brief on ROLE OF WETLANDS IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, would have been good to have it in simpler and more direct language. http://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/library/rpb_wetlands_and_drr_e.pdf

WATER OPTIONS

Maharashtra 3 Marathwada villages created an oasis in the suicide-prone region A watershed project implemented in Kadwanchi, Nandapur and Waghrulvillages of Jalna district by KrishiVigyan Kendra (KVK) under the Indo-German Watershed Project from 1996 to 2002 has given farmers year-round access to water to irrigate 1,888 hectares area. Even during the 2012-16 drought, farmers in villages were not much concerned about the lack of rainfall.

The project involved building continuous contour and absorption trenches in the hills and bunding on farm boundaries to recharge ground water and stop soil erosion. Also, check dams were constructed at several spots to store large volumes of water. Later, several small ponds in farms were constructed through a separate govt scheme, which boosted the water management program. Example of how watershed development in drought prone Marathawada can help communities on sustained basis. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/how-farmers-in-3-marathwada-villages-created-an-oasis-in-the-suicide-prone-region/story-VcjqC0jEkWvyH2AQpKaznJ.html

Bihar Nalanda awarded for water conservation Positive success story from Nalanda, Bihar: – Under the project, dozens of check dams were constructed and more than a 1,000 km of traditional aahar-pyne irrigation system were dug up and traditional water bodies were desilted and renovated, accompanied by campaigns to create awareness about rainwater harvesting.

– Nalanda DDC Kundan Kumar, who is in charge of the project, said it was the first such project to start under MNREGA. He said the traditional form of water conservation can not only prevent villages from devastating floods as witnessed in the district for the last several years, it can also prevent underground water depletion. The DDC said the project has also helped to generate employment as hundreds of people across the district now thrive on fishing in these ponds. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/nalanda-awarded-for-water-conservation/articleshow/59241013.cms

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National The small sewage solution is finally here As per the report localised sewage treatment systems for as little as Rs 1 crore and catering to just a few score households are now a reality, making it possible for rapidly expanding urban areas in India to become cleaner and less prone to diseases caused by faecal contamination. The report highlights very important option. http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/governance/small-sewage-solution-is-here/

GROUND WATER

Maharashtra Groundwater level declining fast Some interesting figures here, but shockingly, the reporter does not mention what study he is quoting from!

– based on no of 1487 wells for the decade 2006-2015 (sounds dated already) it says GW levels are down in 70% areas. Would love to know which are the 30% areas where this is not the case!

– It says Mah has 16000 km of rivers and canals. How can you give the figures of rivers and canals collectively? Would love to know the break up of the river lengths in Mah.

– It says Mah has water bodies spread over 3.83 lakh ha,again would love to know the break up.

– It says Mah has 21.5 lakh wells &borewells, up from 5 lakhs thirty years ago. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ground-water-levels-declining-fast-in-maharashtra-4719264/

WATER

Centre India-Netherlands MoU in water management The Union Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the Netherlands for bilateral cooperation in the field of water resources management.The MoU between Water Resources Ministry and the Netherlands envisages that the two governments shall work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international levels in the field of water resources management and development. http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/cabinet-approves-india-netherlands-mou-in-water-management-2310659.html

Similarly the cabinet on June 28, 2017 has approved signing of a MoU between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India. http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/cabinet-approves-mou-between-india-and-israel-on-national-campaign-for-117062801348_1.html

Study Investments worth $291 Billion needed to plug water demand-supply gap

Such a neat contractor driven math: India will need in 2030:

– $ 215 B for surface water projects

– $ 45 B for groundwater related activities

– $ 27 B for Wastewater related projects

– $ 4 B for desal

– $ 35 B for municipal/ domestic water sector.

Water sector sounds such a rich money making machine! http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/investments-worth-291-billion-needed-to-plug-water-demand-supply-gap-in-india-study/articleshow/59387268.cms

FLOOD 2017

Jammu & Kashmir Cloudburst hits Shopian district A cloud burst in Sedow area on June 25, 2017 damaged three bridges on Wadji-Nala, besides hundreds of apple orchards in Sedow, Vehil, Shamsipora, Chek-Kachdora and adjoining villages of district Shopian. Water also entered several homes causing damage to them. Local people were scared and raised alarm as they hadn’t seen floods like this before. kashmirreader.com/2017/06/26/flash-floods-take-bridges-damage-houses-crops/

Similarly, flashfloods in Leh Manali area wash away highways, () leave hundreds stranded.   timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/flashflood-blocks-manali-leh-highway-for-2nd-consecutive-day/articleshow/59377844.cms

AGRICULTURE

People Science Institute Building Climate Resilience This is an excellent piece about PSI work in Bundelkhand. -In distressed situations of drought and floods, tribal farmers of southern Bundelkhand region illustrated that System of Crop Intensification, an agro ecological method, helps build climate resilience. http://leisaindia.org/articles/building-climate-resilience/

Maharashtra No let up in farmers suicides As many as 42 farmers have ended their lives in the last two weeks. This year, 445 farmers have embraced death as on June 26, 2017. Between June 19 and June 25, as many as 19 farmers ended their lives, while 23 farmers had committed suicide between June 12 and June 18.Farmer suicides in Maharashtra continue in spite of Rs 34000 cr loan waiver announced by CM on June 24, 2017. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-records-42-farmer-suicides-in-2-weeks-4726773/

Also see, Dark Satire This is a forthright piece saying NDA govt has failed farmers. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/a-dark-satire-farmer-suicide-agriculture-labout-loan-waiver-4712253/

ENERGY

NITI Ayog Comments invited on National Energy Policy NitiAyog has drafted National Energy Policy (http://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/new_initiatives/NEP-ID_27.06.2017.pdf) (seems like the draft has some gross errors). It has also invited comments on the NEP. Through this notification on NITI Aayog’s Website, it is requested that comments, views, recommendations and any other input may be forwarded electronically to Shri Rajnath Ram, Joint Adviser (Energy), NITI Aayog on rajnath-pc@gov.in (Phone No.011-23096728) latest by 14th July, 2017.  See their public notice herehttp://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/new_initiatives/Public%20Notice%20for%20Comments%20on%20Draft%20NEP%20.pdf

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National Thermal power plants to be next wave of NPA With their Gujarat-based power plants incurring hefty losses, the Adani, Tata and Essar groups are staring at write-downs in the thousands of crores of rupees. Lenders fear the next wave of non-performing assets will come from the power sector as many projects became unviable after Indonesia changed its law that made coal imports expensive for these companies. http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/gujarat-power-plant-losses-tata-adani-essar-stare-at-huge-writedowns-117062600737_1.html

In another development, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is entitled to “absolute immunity” from lawsuits brought by communities harmed by IFC projects, in Budha Ismail Jam v. IFC. The case against the IFC, the World Bank Group’s private lending arm, seeks a remedy for IFC’s funding of a controversial power plant that has devastated fishing communities of Mundra in Gujarat. This is shocking and disappointing. https://www.earthrights.org/legal/tata-mundra-coal-power-plant

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Rajasthan Companies shut off wind power supply In a strange development Rajasthan Wind power projects (total capacity 4280 MW) are on an average being asked to back down for 5 hours daily in this peak wind season (Apr-Sept), the problem has worsened since last year. This is because the discoms are finding it cheaper to buy thermal power, say Winder Power Producers. energy. economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/developers-reel-under-losses-as-rajasthan-companies-shut-off-wind-power-supply/59330325 

Similarly in another strange development , providing another reason for the govt to tackle the poor air quality, a new report found that pollutants can dampen solar power generation by as much as 17%. http://www.hindustantimes.com/health/india-s-air-pollution-could-decrease-solar-power-generation-by-17-study-says/story-mQmiL1qAcClf6JM40jENdI.html

Meanwhile, Power Minister says that India’s solar power capacity will go up from current 12 GW to 22 GW by March 2018. He also states that there is no peaking power policy under consideration. As per the power minister, new Hydro policy to come out soon to push unjustified stranded hydropower projects. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/indias-solar-power-capacity-to-reach-22-gigawatt-by-march-piyush-goyal/59371702

SOUTH ASIA

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A local fisherman fishing upstream of the barrage (Photo: Gauri Noolkar-Oak)

SANDRP Blog Journey along Teesta River Few journeys take us through a string of experiences that nourish the senses and the soul. A thoroughbred urban, city-lover, I nevertheless knew deep down that my journey of such nourishment would be with a river. I began researching rivers by chance, but with time, I grew to first like and then worship the entity. (https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/retracing-her-path-a-journey-along-the-teesta-river-in-bangladesh/)

Second part of the blog can be seen here.  https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/retracing-her-path-a-journey-along-the-teesta-river-in-bangladesh/

Also see link for the third and concluding part of the blog here https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/retracing-her-path-3-a-journey-along-the-teesta-river-in-sikkim/

India to protest China funded Pakistan dam on Indus India has decided to oppose Pakistan plans with Chinese help to build a massive 4500 MW capacity storage hydropower project with storage capacity of 6.3 Million Acre Feet, costing USD 14.5 B. The project is to come up in disputed area that is now in possession of Pakistan. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/618462/india-protest-china-funded-pak.html

India-Bangladesh Landsides kill over hundred people There was so little news about this in India. At least 156 people, including several soldiers have been killed due to heavy monsoon rains – followed by flash floods and landslides in CittagongHills Tract(CHT) as well as the adjacent Chittagong city, authorities said on the evening of June 16, 2017.

Similar situation in India-At least eight people have been killed by flash floods and landslides in the Indian state of Mizoram, just across the border from the CHT. Five districts in southern and eastern Mizoram – Serchhip, Lunglei, Lawngtlai, Siaha and Champhai – remained cut off from the rest of India after the heavy rains started. The eight deaths occurred in Lunglei district, when the suddenly swollen Khawthlangtuipui river submerged over 350 houses in the Tiabung area of the district. There was serious damage to roads and buildings in state capital Aizawl. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/06/17/landslides-kill-over-a-hundred-in-bangladesh-india/?mc_cid=a4f469512c&mc_eid=9095a86d27

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Bangladesh Dying rivers of Dhaka Dhaka is more than 400 years old, but the govt is yet to install an environmentally sustainable sewerage system. The Dhaka Sewerage Authority can treat only 20% of the city’s sewerage and the rest is dumped into the four rivers. Also local polluting textile and tannery industries dump untreated industrial effluents into the rivers. Worse, powerful and influential people have gradually taken over the river banks and basins to set up factories as industrial land ran out. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/06/26/can-new-protections-save-dhakas-dying-rivers/

Pakistan Unequal water distribution in Sindh This report explains why despite having the best water infrastructure in the country, Sindh has shockingly high poverty and malnutrition levels; one reason is the manipulation of water outlets for the benefit of the rich and powerful. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/06/06/in-sindh-water-is-only-for-rich-and-powerful/?mc_cid=a4f469512c&mc_eid=9095a86d27

Nepal Woman led company wins award for promoting solar energy A women-led clean energy initiative has won a prestigious international award for supporting the development of solar businesses in Nepal. Indeed, this potential exists in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and across the Himalayas in India and Tibet, better option than big and small hydro. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/06/16/woman-led-company-wins-award-for-lighting-up-nepal/?mc_cid=a4f469512c&mc_eid=9095a86d27

CHINA

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Hydro power frenzy drowns scared mountains Beijing is building hydropower at a breakneck pace in ethnically Tibetan regions as part of an ambitious undertaking to reduce dependence on coal and cut emissions. But the experts question whether hydropower can cut coal dependence, as its low efficiency can spur the development of backup coal plants that operate during dry spells. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4638684/Chinas-hydropower-frenzy-drowns-sacred-mountains.html

Similarly its shocking to shocking to see Asit Biswas making claims like “hydropower does not contribute to CO2 emissions and it is an indigenous renewable resource.”Not only shocking, but scientifically wrong. Hydropower Dams come with reservoirs, which when they submerge lush vegetation, become net emitters of Methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2. There are loads of scientific studies done on this.Sad to see such a flat piece, single-handedly pushing hydropower in Mekong, when there are so many issues involved. https://www.policyforum.net/damned-damned-dont/

THE REST OF THE WORLD

International Rivers In debt and in the dark This new report, by international rivers is authored by Tim Jones, a noted economist. Jones scrutinizes the key assumption and assumed benefits claims, including likely construction costs, electricity tariffs, and the amount of power Inga 3 will produce. The report finds those assumptions are extremely flawed and dangerously optimistic and set out a range of scenarios for Inga 3’s performance.

The man findings are that

  • Construction of Inga 3 is likely to cause a financial loss for the DRC government and become a drain on the country’s financial resources, rather than a source of new revenues. In the most likely scenario, the DRC would lose $22 billion over 35 years.
  • Inga 3 could lead to a large increase in external government debt, risking DRC receiving a classification of “debt distress” and harming DRC’s long-term economic health.
  • In the most likely scenario, Inga 3 would generate only 90 MW of power for Kinshasa, rather than the 1000 MW claimed. 88% of the power would be sold to South Africa.
  • In the worst-case scenario, Congolese consumers would receive no additional power at all.

You can download the copy of the report at http://intlrv.rs/2rSyBXG or on IR website www.internationalrivers.org/node/16497.

Global Genesis of treating rivers as a person This is an excellent article that maps the evolution of the idea of giving right to nature, culminating in possibly the most effective instance in New Zealand where the river is given the right and also specific and right persons are designated to defend the rights. https://theconversation.com/when-a-river-is-a-person-from-ecuador-to-new-zealand-nature-gets-its-day-in-court-79278

America Debate over future power grid Interesting debate in US about the future sources of power and to what extent renewables can provide the electricity. Unfortunately, the debate includes all hydro among the renewable.Other relevant links: In Sharp Rebuttal, Scientists Squash Hopes for 100 Percent Renewables.  PNAS PapersEvaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100 per cent wind, water, and solar.  Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/06/19/a-bitter-scientific-debate-just-erupted-over-the-future-of-the-u-s-electric-grid/

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Global sea level rise accelerates since 1990s According to a team of scientists in China, Australia and US, the annual rate of sea level rise increased to 3.3 millimetres (0.13 inch) in 2014 – from 2.2 mm in 1993.

A thaw of Greenland’s ice sheet accounted for more than 25 percent of the sea level rise in 2014 against just 5 percent in 1993. Other big sources include loss of glaciers from the Himalayas to the Andes, Antarctica’s ice sheet and a natural expansion of ocean water as it warms up.

As per Peter Wadhams, of the University of Cambridge, this is a major warning to us about the dangers of a sea level rise that will continue for many centuries even after global warming is stopped. http://in.reuters.com/article/climatechange-seas-idINKBN19H1S5

ENVIRONMENT

Maharashtra 80% fund to fight pollution remained unused This is revealing that in 2015-16, the MPCB received Rs393.8 crore, but spent only Rs68.26 crore. In 2016-17, of the Rs350 crore received, only Rs80 crore was spent. For 2017-18, the department has set a budget of Rs150 crore. While MPCB has the money and pollution is rampant, money is not spent and necessary work to address pollution issues remain unaddressed. WHO BENEFITS? www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/ht-impact-why-aren-t-you-using-funds-to-clean-up-maharashtra-nhrc-asks-anti-pollution-board/story-9lLPW8buPhegsj3IAtG0XJ.html

In a separate development, a rating scheme has graded 23 industries in the state as the most polluting ones (one or two stars), it awarded the ‘least polluting’ status (four and five stars) to 47 industries. As per the report, Maharashtra has more than 75,000 industries, with 12,500 emitting high pollution levels. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/study-identifies-23-most-polluting-industries-in-maharashtra/story-7lXZqAHxF04sE29nd2SxQN.html

Meanwhile, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttrakhand approach the Supreme court against NGT directive to Pollution Control Board chiefs to stop working in ten states since they were not qualified. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-moves-sc-against-ngt-over-appointment-of-pollution-board-chief/story-uiPlMDvDwDGju1QyDd1vsM.html

Report Abundant scope for research in Adivasi Interesting to see research being done of organic farming of Raj Gonds in Adilabad district and even more to see the researcher going back to the village to present a copy of her M Phil thesis. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/abundant-scope-for-research-on-adivasi-culture/article19166560.ece

17 June; World Day to Combat Desertification Desertification of land in India  As per PIB report on June 17, 2017 central govt has made a target to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030.  For this, funds have been increased to Rs 4750 crore in 2016-17, as compared to Rs 3707 crore in 2015-16 under schemes like ‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana’. Funds for National Rural Livelihoods Mission has also been increased from Rs. 3000 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 4500 crore in 2017-18. It has also launched various schemes to mitigate concerns over desertification, land degradation and drought problems. Another PIB release on the occasion, shares no data on the current status of desertification of land in India in 2017.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=165716

article-2660560-1EDD068100000578-671_634x737

According to a 2016 news report, more than a quarter of the total geographic area (TGA)-96.4 million hectares (mha) or 29.32%-in India is undergoing degradation as per decadal information compiled for the period 2011-13, posing a major challenge to the country’s commitment to the UN of achieving a land degradation neutral status by 2030.

The report also says that India has managed to reclaim about 1.87mha of land that was under degradation in 2003-05 period, but that has been offset by nearly double the area of productive land (3.63mha) lost to degradation from then to 2011-13.

The most significant process of degradation is water erosion 10.98%, followed by vegetation degradation (mainly as deforestation) at 8.91% and wind erosion (denotes the spread of sand by various processes) at 5.55%. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/Over-29-per-cent-of-Indias-land-degrading/articleshow/53068475.cms

Another news report from 2014 says that twenty-five per cent of India’s total land is undergoing desertification while 32 per cent is facing degradation that has affected its productivity, critically affecting the livelihood and food security of millions across the country. As much as 105.19 million hectares (Mha) of the country’s total geographical area of 328.73 Mha is being degraded, while 82.18 Mha is undergoing desertification. The major forms of land degradation include soil erosion (which accounts for over 71 per cent of the total degradation), and wind erosion (10.24 per cent). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2660560/Desertification-land-degradation-affects-quarter-Indias-land.html

Notably, in its fifth National Report on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought, the govt has conceded that land degradation continues to be a major environmental concern for the country, with consequent implications for sustainable development.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) 2007 report on desertication, about 69 percent of land in the country is dry, making it vulnerable to water and wind erosion, salinization and water logging.  http://in.reuters.com/article/india-desertification-idINKBN0ET0UN20140618

ISRO, Ahmedabad, along with 19 concerned partner institutes has carried out an inventory and monitoring of desertification of the entire country using Indian Remote Sensing Satellites data in Geographical Information System (GIS) environment.

Maps and salient findings compiled in the form of an Atlas was released last year on the Desertification event by Environment Ministry at Jodhpur for the benefit of policy makers and planners. http://www.isro.gov.in/desertification-and-land-degradation-atlas-released   https://vedas.sac.gov.in/vedas/downloads/atlas/DSM/Desertification_Atlas_2016_SAC_ISRO.pdf

Back ground to WDCD: June 17 has been observed as the ‘World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD), as United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994 and ratified in December 1996. India became a signatory to UNCCD on October 14, 1994 and ratified it on December 17, 1996. MoEF is the nodal Ministry for the Convention.

World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought collectively. The main objective of UNCCD is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and desertification.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=165692

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 26 June 2017 and DRP News Bulletin 19 June 2017

One Comment on “DRP News Bulletin 03 July 2017 (Panna Villagers Oppose Ken-Betwa Link Project)

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