DRP News Bulletin 31 July 2017 (Dams Turning Floods into Disasters, Yet We Continue to Push More & Bigger Dams)  

All through the month, several states in the country have been battling severe flood situation. The Northeastern (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam), Western (Rajasthan Gujurat), Central (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh) and Eastern (Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal) regions have been particularly affected by floods following incessant rain.

Till July 28, 2017, 293 people have succumbed to flood related accidents. As per govt sources, the economic cost of flood damages has reached 53894.634 lakh.  http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJuly-2017.htm

Superficially water deluge seems a natural disaster occurring on annual basis. But a closer observation of flood monitoring mechanisms and scores of media reports reveal that most of the flood crisis is man-made and dams have been playing a bigger role in creating a disaster out of a natural phenomenon.

So far there have been more than a dozen reported incidents across country where breaching of aged or unmaintained dams have led to inundation of human habitation. On July 06, 2017 breaching of Shiv Sagar dam was such an incident causing severe floods in several villages in Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh. http://amritprabhat.com/mirzapur-mirzapur-floods-with-heavy-rain-dozens-of-houses-and-five-people-of-the-same-family-found-dead-body-of-two-shivsagar-dam-broke/

Similarly, there is information from reliable sources proving that the wrong operation of dams end up creating flood situation in downstream areas which were already facing heavy rains. The devastating floods in Lakhimpur Assam around July 09, 2017, were a result of release of huge amount of water from Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh. https://scroll.in/article/844509/severity-of-assam-floods-heightens-old-fears-about-dams-in-the-brahmaputra-basin

In one more similar and latest incident, untimely release of water by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Jharkhand resulted in flood disaster in Birbhum, Purulia, West Medinipur and Hoogly districts. As per West Bengal Govt the DVC officials discharged the around 2 lakhs cusec of water on 25 July 2017, from many dams built on Damodar river without intimating it.  https://scroll.in/latest/845268/mamata-banerjee-blames-west-bengal-floods-on-centre-run-damodar-valley-corporation  

The third dimension in the flood tragedy is the fact that responsible authorities like Central Water Commission (CWC), concerned state department have failed to issue timely warning in so many incidences which could have otherwise been avoided or mitigated. There are also reports suggesting that there was no prior forecast and warning for ongoing floods in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Similarly there have been dozens of incidents in different parts where flood situation has been either caused or aggravated by faulty dam operation, breach in dams and lack of timely warning by responsible authorities.

The breach in Jaitpura dam and over spilling of Jawai dam in Jalor Rajasthan has inundated several villages. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jawai-dam-pali-disrict-floods-rajasthan-heavy-rains-rescue-operations-ndrf-food-material/1/1012924.html The breach in Narmada canal has led to floods in Badmer districts. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/narmada-canal-damaged/articleshow/59762317.cms

The sudden discharge from Seepu dam on West Banas River, Dharoi dam on Sabarmati river has created severe flooding in downstream districts killing many villagers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/aerial-survey-of-banas-river-to-be-undertaken-as-death-toll-in-gujarat-floods-touch-111-4768335/ , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-sabarmati-waters-flood-anand-villages/articleshow/59786379.cms  

Further, the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) latest report only goes on reinforcing all these issues. The shocking report tells us that out of 4,862 large dams, emergency action plans or disaster management plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared till March 2016. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jul/22/huge-delay-in-completion-of-flood-control-projects-in-country-cag-1632017.html

In a similar development another CAG report has put onus on Hirakud dam officials for 2011 floods. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/cag-puts-onus-on-hirakud-officials-for-2011-flood-1632412.html 

The CAG has also presented scathing indictment of India’s CWC’s shoddy flood forecasting system. https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/indias-flood-forecast-capability-a-washout-cag.html

The efficiency of flood monitoring can be judged from the fact that Irrigation Department Uttar Pradesh still relies on blade runners to convey flood information in the digital era. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/in-e-age-runners-alert-officials-about-flash-floods/articleshow/59676066.cms

The DAM FLOOD sanction of this update is full of such reports proving that dams have turning the floods into disasters.

On the contrary, there have been many developments showing the Central as well as State Governments are not ready to learn any lesson from this and they continue to propose and build more dams.

First of all, there is report that Assam Government wants to build 5000 KM stretch of embankment costing about 40,0000 crore rupees under Prime Minister’s special flood and erosion control program. The purpose of this embankment is to tame the Brahmaputra river. This is happening despite the fact that embankments not only have failed as means of flood protection but they have also been increasing flood related destruction.  http://www.livemint.com/Politics/wGzS6QoEK2Ys3ZleWS2VKM/Assam-plans-5000km-embankment-along-Brahmaputra-river-to-cou.html

The Central Govt has been pushing the Pancheshwar dam on Mahakali river at India Nepal border amid growing concerns and objections. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngo-seeks-postpone-of-pancheshwar-dam-hearing/articleshow/59727412.cms  Similarly, Renuka dam in Himachal and Lakhwar dam in Uttarakhand are pushed steadily in ecologically fragile Himalayan region.

In the most disappointing development related to dams, the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river have been closed without full and proper rehabilitation of displaced villagers. http://www.sify.com/news/sardar-sarovar-dam-displaced-villagers-stage-protest-news-national-rh5abkhecigca.html

HYDRO POWER

Arunachal Pradesh People demands official cancellation of Tawant I and II HEPs The Save Mon Region Forum (SMRF) has on July 19, 2017 served a seven-day ultimatum to the CM urging him to issue orders for immediate roll back of NHPC Stage-I and II Hydro Power Project from Tawang. General public had earlier rejected the project during a meeting held on Feb.14, 2017. http://www.arunachaltimes.in/7-days-ultimatum-served-to-cm/

Meanwhile, claiming that the under construction 110 MW PHEP, Doimukh has developed a defect in the diversion tunnel at the outlet posing a major a threat to the downstream inhabitants, the Pro-Dam Movement (PDMAP) has appealed to Chief Secretary to direct the NEEPCO to take immediate precautionary measures to avert any kind of destruction of downstream. It is good to see that a local has been raising the issue of defective tunnel of under construction hydro projects. http://www.arunachaltimes.in/neepco-hpdd-asked-to-repair-110-mw-phep/

Himachal Pradesh Local rejects Jispa project outright As per the convener of Jispa Baandh Jan Sangarsh Samiti, Rigzin Samphel Hayerpa said hundreds of residents of the affected villages had made it clear to the officials that they would not allow the valley to be ruined in the name of development. He added that merely on the ground that the project was of national importance, destruction of fragile ecology could not be allowed.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/meeting-over-jispa-dam-yields-no-result/articleshow/59657026.cms

Also see, an amazing video of Pandoh area landslide on Saturday, July 22 morning on NH 21 as one can see how the wedge gets developed and then the mass falls from top.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Flk2Bj3NxBI

Centre 14 hydro power projects stare at Rs 25,594 crore cost overrun As per Piyush Goyal, Power Minister, 14 under construction hydro power projects of above 25 mw have been stalled due to various reasons, leading to cost overrun of Rs 25,593.78 crore, as calculated by the Central Electricity Authority, is Rs 25,593.78 crore. NHPC’s 2,000 mw Subansiri Lower project, cost overrun is Rs 11,149.8 crore, 400 mw Maheshwar hydel project, cost overrun is Rs 5,223.7 crore and the Teesta Stage VI project has seen cost build-up of Rs 4,258.9 crore. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/14-hydro-power-projects-stare-at-rs-25594-crore-cost-overrun/59738187

West Bengal NHPC is losing Rs 2.5 crore a day in TLDP III and IV in Darjeeling Hydro power producer NHPC Ltd. is incurring a loss of over Rs 2.5 crore a day due to closer in its two major projects in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. TLDP (Teesta Low Dam Project)-III and TLDP-IV had to be closed down following agitation of huge mob on 12th and 13th July. Agitating mob have put few other smaller power plants also under closer. TLDP III, on river Teesta, with its installed capacity of 132MW was commissioned in the year 2011. TLDP IV (160MW) on the same river was commissioned in 2016. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/nhpc-is-losing-rs-2-5-crore-a-day-in-tldp-iii-and-iv-in-darjeeling/59765592

Report Media, academics unaware of hydro issues Very strange that neither the author nor the Third pole editors seem to know that EVERY Hydropower project has a dam and storage of millions of cubic meters, and to say that river’s water is not held back in a reservoir is complete nonsense. This also tries to give a picture as if ROR projects are better, while not even mentioning the tunneling and blasting and drying of rivers and muck generation and so on.

The article also gives lopsided picture, when hydropower projects are no longer viable, when even in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, the private companies are exiting, when projects are stalled, when India is power surplus and when there are no PPAs and when there are no takers for costly hydro, what is the sense in pushing these projects in J&K?  https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/07/24/india-hastens-hydropower-projects-in-jammu-and-kashmir/

Similarly an interesting article by IIM academics on Hydro, goes to show how lopsided views can be of our academics too, trying to justify pushing hydro by rook or by crook, not raising any questions. However, it also provides insights into the thinking prevalent in official circles. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/how-to-recharge-the-hydropower-sector/article9786672.ece

DAMS FLOOD 2017

CAG Report Sorry state of affairs when it comes to dam management in the country In a SHOCKING revelation, the CAG report has found that out of 4,862 large dams, emergency action plans or disaster management plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared till March 2016. Further, only 231 (five per cent) large dams evolved operating procedure/manuals. Out of 17 states and union territories only two states had fully carried out the pre and post monsoon inspection of the dams, three states had carried out the inspections partially and remaining 12 States had not carried out these inspections. As per the report, program for maintenance of dams was not prepared and adequate funds were not provided to carry out structural/repair works. One only hopes the recommendations were more radical than what is reported here. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jul/22/huge-delay-in-completion-of-flood-control-projects-in-country-cag-1632017.html

In a similar development another CAG report has put onus on Hirakud dam officials for 2011 floods. This is great to see CAG holding the Odisha Water Resources Dept accountable for the Mahanadi floods in Odisha in Sept 2011 and Aug 2014, Odisha WRD has no convincing response. One wishes this is taken to its logical conclusions and the responsible officials are punished. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/cag-puts-onus-on-hirakud-officials-for-2011-flood-1632412.html Here is link to CAG report http://www.cag.gov.in/content/report-no10-2017-performance-audit-union-government-schemes-flood-control-and-flood

The CAG has also presented scathing indictment of India’s CWC’s shoddy flood forecasting system. https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/indias-flood-forecast-capability-a-washout-cag.html

Assam Faulty Ranganadi dam operation main cause of flood According to KK Chtradhara, a river activist in Assam, before 2002 (when Ranganadi HEP was commissioned) the floods were never of this magnitude. This year around 3,000 cumecs of water is likely to have been released by the dam authorities, despite the carrying capacity of the river being 1,291 cumecs. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/environment/2017-ne-floods-too-are-man-made-disasters-assam-arunachal-pradesh

Similarly a new detailed report gives account of what happened at 405 MW Ranganadi Dam on July 9, adding to flood disaster in the downstream.  However, Kharkongar’s first claim that the dam controlled the flood damage on July 9 was contradicted by the Ranganadi project’s senior manager, S Sharma. (https://scroll.in/article/844509/severity-of-assam-floods-heightens-old-fears-about-dams-in-the-brahmaputra-basin) The first part of the article on Assam floods, gives a detailed account of how and why the Lakhimpur embankment breached and what happened in the aftermath. https://scroll.in/article/844297/assam-floods-how-an-embankment-in-lakhimpur-failed-leaving-villages-devastated-and-people-dead

Another report further shows that NEEPCO’s 405 MW Rangandi Dam played a big role in Assam floods. It mentions that what worsened matters was the release of large quantity of Ranganadi water twice in a span of 12 hours by the public-sector North-Eastern Electric Power Corporation, after the dam at its hydro-electric project at Yazali in Arunachal got filled. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/day-after-in-flood-hit-assam-22000-hectares-are-now-desert-4762751/

Meanwhile, the AASU also said that water released from the Ranganadi project created havoc in Lakhimpur district and pointed out that the govt should give due consideration to the opinion of technical experts before going ahead with the Lower Subansiri project. The organization says that the 405 MW Ranganadi project proved that unscientific dams can create havoc and the 2000 MW Subansiri project can create much more devastation if the views of experts are not given due consideration. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jul2317/at058

Amid this, MoEF has shown its pro project bias by supporting the report of govt experts rather than independent experts from Assam on Lower Subansiri Project. This would not help the cause of the project that remains stalled since Dec 2011. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jul2617/at057

In a pleasant, turn of events DEMAND FOR DECOMMISSIONING OF RANGANADI DAM is getting momentum after Ranganadi floods.  “The AASU demanded an inquiry into the cause of the devastating deluge in Lakhimpur district on July 11 this year and punishment to those who negligence had resulted in the devastation. It demanded a package of Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre for flood damage, scrapping of bank loans of affected farmers and compensation to and rehabilitation of the flood-affected.

The KMSS and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) staged separate protests in front of the Lakhimpur deputy commissioner’s office, demanding closure of big dams of the NHPC and the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco) Limited, and compensation to and rehabilitation of flood-affected people of Lakhimpur by Neepco. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said release of excess water from the Ranganadi dam was responsible for the flood in Lakhimpur and Majuli. The Lakhimpur unit of the Congress has also planned a protest against big dams this week.

The AASU, KMSS and the AJYCP are at the forefront of the movement against big dams without proper survey. As per an official, the flood this time has only made their case stronger and any hope of early resumption of work on Lower Subansiri project has been dashed. https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170728/jsp/northeast/story_164188.jsp

There are also news reports claiming that new embankments would be constructed along Brahmaputra without any Environment or social Impact Assessments or public consultations. This could really be disastrous in any case. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-environment-floods-idUSKBN1AC27I

West Bengal Sudden water releases caues flood in W-Bengal Sudden release of water from Damodar Dams by DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) on July 24, 2017, without warning to downstream areas and when downstream areas are flooded is AGAIN creating flood disaster in W Bengal. As per DVC officials it was difficult to limit the releases below 10000 cusecs, as requested by W Bengal minister. If the downstream channel has space for only that much water and if DVC releases more water, it is doubt to create flood disaster. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/limit-water-release-from-dams-state-writes-to-dvc/articleshow/59746580.cms

The water Level of Mundeswari River (Ganga Basin) in Hugli dist in W Bengal is expected to achieve a new HIGHEST EVER FLOOD LEVEL of 14.6 m, above the previous HFL of 14.58 m achieved on Sept 29, 1978. This is forecast to happen by 8 am on July 28, 2017. http://www.india-water.gov.in/ffs/current-flood-forecast/

W Bengal CM again complains to PM, no less, even before the floods about need to ensure that DVC dams do not release water WHEN downstream areas are facing floods to avoid flood disaster, but again same thing repeats. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-requested-pm-to-ensure-dvc-dam-doesn-t-release-more-water-mamata-2516161

Holding DVC responsible for floods, she said that even today (27 July) they have released more than 1 lakh cusec of water. Low-lying areas of Labhpur in Birbhum district, Purulia, Ghatal in West Medinipur and Goghat, Arambagh in Hooghly districts have been inundated. She also said that this is caused mostly due to the discharge of water by DVC from its barrages.

A senior state irrigation ministry official said, even after having a capacity to contain water up to 425 feet in the Panchet dam, DVC released water from the dam when the level was 417 ft. He added that this can be attributed to the lack of dredging of the river and not removing the encroachments there.  http://www.news18.com/news/india/mamata-banerjee-holds-dvc-jharkhand-govt-for-flood-like-situation-in-bengal-1475187.html

Raising her attacks on Centre, Mamta Banerjee further stated that this is a man-made flood. This will go on till September. It has rained more this year. In addition, water is being released by DVC without informing us.

MP Saugata Roy lashed out at DVC in Parliament. In Parliament, Saugata Roy accused the DVC of releasing water without informing the state and reiterated the CM’s complaint.

As per report, on 26 July, the DVC released 2 lakh cusec of water from the Panchet dam. On 27July, a further 1.85 lakh cusec was released.

DREDGING RIVERS AND BARRAGES WONT HELP: “Since June we had been warning DVC that it should not release water at such speed and should keep the state informed at all times, but the agency does not bother to do so. It has not dredged the rivers despite our request,” she fumed. The CM said a World Bank-sponsored project worth Rs 1,800 to desilt rivers in the state and increase their water-bearing capacity would begin soon. THE TROUBLE IS THIS WONT HELP. IT IS LIKELY TO BE WASTE OF MONEY AND COULD WORSEN THE PROBLEM… WHERE WILL THE SIL GO?

PROBLEMATIC STATEMENT: This statement by the TOI reporter is very misleading and wrong: “The dams built on the river have managed to tame the wild and erratic river but controlled flooding continues to happen every monsoon when water is released from the overflowing dams.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/mamata-slaps-man-made-tag-on-floods-blames-centre-dvc/articleshow/59799573.cms

Uttar Pradesh In e-age, runners alert officials about flash floods This is also truly shocking state of affairs that UP irrigation department uses runners to convey flood alerts http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/in-e-age-runners-alert-officials-about-flash-floods/articleshow/59676066.cms

flood

Gujarat Flood Another flood CWC failed to forecast Several parts of the State including Saurashtra, Central and North Gujarat have been facing floods due to heavy rainfall but the Central Water Commission failed to made any forecast of this. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/flood-like-situation-in-saurashtra-4762978/

All gates of Machhu Dam in Morbi (remembered for India’s worst ever Dam disaster in 1979) were opened on July 21, 2017 night to release 2.42 lakh cusecs of water,  reduced to 95000 cusecs by July 22, 2017 evening. NO CWC FORECAST here too. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/saurashtra-floods-machhu-dam-overflows-2600-evacuated-in-morbi/articleshow/59720442.cms

As per a news report, in the evening, the training wall of Sipu dam in Banaskantha was damaged but irrigation department officials said there was no threat to the dam. Meanwhile, CM has blamed the rain in neighbouring Rajasthan for floods!

Principal Secretary, revenue, Pankaj Kumar said that due to heavy inflow from catchment areas, around 50,000 cusecs water was being released from Dharoi dam from July 27, 2017.  He further said that over two lakh cusecs water was being released from Dantiwada dam because of huge influx from Rajastan, where situation in three districts is critical. Sixteen villages in Matar and 18 in Kheda have also been put on alert.

According to another news report water over-flowed over the Machhu 2 dam, 12 km upstream of Morbi Town, leading to rumours of dam break. The Narmada pumping station was also submerged. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-floods-dam-breach-rumour-leads-to-chaos-in-morbi-even-as-flood-situation-eases-4765307/

However, even as over seventy people have died, there is no flood forecasting in Gujarat by CWC, except inflow forecast for Dharoi and Dantiwada dams.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/rain-pummels-north-gujarat-25k-shifted-to-safer-locations/articleshow/59748388.cms

Meanwhile this article tries to explain why west and East India are facing floods. It would have been good if the CWC’s flood forecasting persons were asked why there is no flood forecasting about the Gujarat and Rajasthan floods on CWC site. https://scroll.in/article/844887/an-unusual-weather-phenomenon-explains-why-eastern-and-western-india-are-flooding

According to news report, due to sudden rise in water level, some 25 people have died in contiguous area along the Banas river in Kharia (17 dead bodies), Sihori (seven dead bodies) and surrounding villages in Kankrej Taluka in Banaskantha district. This was due to sudden release of about 1.5 lakh cusecs of water released from Dandiwada dam on July 24, while downstream area was already facing heavy rainfall. http://www.firstpost.com/india/gujarat-floods-25-found-dead-in-banaskantha-death-toll-in-state-rises-to-94-3859047.html

People seem to have died on July 25 night, their bodies were found next day. Khariya was one of the 30 villages where alert was sounded, but these deaths, mostly of poor OBC people could have been avoided.

This is clearly ANOTHER INSTANCE OF DAM FLODOS: The Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad highway was flooded after several villages near Dholka were inundated following release of 1.24 lakh cusecs water from the Dharoi dam. As per Ahmedabad collector Avantika Singh Aulakh, at least 3,858 people in 20 villages had been taken to safer locations in the district.

WAS NARMADA CANAL PASSING THROUGH THE VILLAGE ALSO A CULPRIT? Preliminary reports also suggest the Narmada canal, which passes through the village, was also flooded leading to very heavy water logging in the area. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/18-of-a-family-killed-in-floods-gujarat-toll-119/articleshow/59782334.cms  Also see, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/flood-fury-in-gujarat-14-of-a-family-pulled-out-of-flood-waters-4768756/

There is another fall out of Dharoi Dam Releases: NDRF team rescues 59 people from Ganol village in Dholka taluka in Ahmedabad. THE DESCRIPTION IN THIS REPORT CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE PEOPLE WERE TAKEN COMPLETELY UNAWARES AND WATER RELEASE WAS SUDDEN WITHOUT ALERTING ALL THE DOWNSTREAM AREA. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-flood-ndrf-team-rescues-59-people-from-ganol-village/articleshow/59775612.cms

As per news report, 1.43 lakh cusecs of water released from Dharoi dam on Sabarmati river leads to inundation of 4 villages of Anand district, and 14 more villages were on alert (12 in Tarapur and 2 in Khambhat taluka). 68000 cusecs is released from Vasna barrage, affecting the downstream area. In addition, 1.2 lakh cusecs water was released from Vatrak and Shedi, affecting Tarapur and Khambhat Talukas. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-flood-ndrf-team-rescues-59-people-from-ganol-village/articleshow/59775612.cms

Some news report reveals that Deesa in Banaskanahta district received 525 mm rainfall in 48 hours but some reliable sources claim it to be more than 2493 mm in 48 hours. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarats-deesa-gets-more-rainfall-than-cherrapunjee/articleshow/59772637.cms

According to latest news report, people of 27 villages of Anand Dist, 23 villages of Mahisagar Dist and 19 villages of Panchmahal dist were put on alert along the Mahi River in Central Gujarat following Water Release from Kadana Dam. “The largest number of villages that were asked to exercise caution were on the banks of the Mahi river. Water was being released from the Vanakbori and Kadana dams on the river. As a consequence, the administration in Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Vadodara and Anand district had to put villages in the low-lying areas along the river on an alert.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-floods-alert-sounded-in-137-villages-of-central-gujarat/articleshow/59798572.cms

Rajasthan Barmer floods worsened by breach in Narmada Canal According to report, Dhorimanna(110mm) and Gudamalani (200mm) have received rainfall till July 24, 2017 leading to damage in a part of the Narmada canal in Gudmalani area. As a result water gushed into several houses in the locality. As per Badmer collector, rain water from Jalore and Sirohi was flowing into the districts through Luni, Sakudi and Bandi rivers. Water levels were rising at Nehda, Hemavas and Bakli dams. He said that the warning of heavy rains continues for the next 24 hours. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/narmada-canal-damaged/articleshow/59762317.cms

Seeing the handful of media report, again reinforces the role played by Narmada canal in increasing the flood disaster in Barmer along the Luni river, particularly “at Gudamalani and Dhorimanna”. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/swelling-luni-river-a-big-worry-for-barmer-people/articleshow/59798878.cms

Odisha Dam induced floods The administration has identified eight wards in the district – 1, 10, 13, 15, 25, 30, 31 and 32 -under Adityapur Municipal Council (AMC) limits that witness inundation every year following rise in the water level at Kharkhai river whenever Odisha releases excess water from Bankbal dam, located in Mayurbhanj district” and Chandil Dam in Jharkhand. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jamshedpur/seraikela-prepares-to-manage-disaster-in-flood-prone-areas/articleshow/59644314.cms

Another latest report mentions about water releases from dams on Koel River in Jharkhand and Sankh river in Chhattisgarh, (their confluence making Brahmani river) upstream of Rourkela on the banks of Brahmani, leading to flooding of low lying areas of Rourkela. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/28/chhattisgarh-jharkhand-release-swells-brahmani-river-1634672.html

The water release from Rengali dam leads to alert in downstream areas. http://odishatv.in/odisha/body-slider/flood-alert-issued-for-4-blocks-as-rengali-dam-opens-more-gates-230044/

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Jammu & Kashmir 8 killed in cloudbursts in Chenab valley   In two separate incidents of cloud bursts during 19-20 July 2017, in J&K, 6 people get killed in Doda and 2 in Kishtwar districts, both in Chenab Valley. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cloudburst-hits-jks-doda-district-casualties-feared/article19312899.ece  Hear is more information on enormous damage following the incident https://news.statetimes.in/four-family-among-13-killed-cloudbursts-flash-floods-shops-houses-private-school-damaged/

According to another news report the flash flood disaster could have been avoided if the encroachment of the drainage lines were not allowed and there are clear legal norms about it across the country but unfortunately none exists today. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/flash-flood-jammu-and-kashmirs-doda-that-killed-6-couldve-been-avoided-locals-1728308

Meanwhile, in what could be possibly fourth incident of cloud burst this season, a woman was killed after flash floods hit Dodhpathri meadow in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on July 27, 2017. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/woman-killed-after-flash-floods-hit-doodpathri-meadow-in-central-kashmir/255930.html

Economical & Political Weekly Governing the Flood Editorial n EPW on Flood management: “But with increased deforestation in the Eastern Himalayas, the surface run-off has increased at the cost of infiltration leading to tons of sediment being deposited on the riverbed as the river reaches the plains. This further reduces the carrying capacity of the river and enhances the risk of flooding. The plan to build large dams in upstream areas, largely in Arunachal Pradesh, is likely to exacerbate this process… The government’s response to floods has been focused on massive structural interventions like dams, dredging of rivers, and porcupine structures to combat erosion. But empiricalexperience shows that dams often get silted quickly, more soin the Eastern Himalayas. To save the dam, water has to bereleased downstream, tending to cause flooding. This pheno­menon has happened year after year, in various districts in lower and upper Assam. Bamboo porcupines, structural interventions that arrest riverbank erosion, have often been found to be of substandard quality and tend to get washed away.”

FLOOD GOVERNANCE: “What is required is an important normative shift that sees floods as a natural phenomenon, and a change in the discourse from flood protection to flood governance. Flood protection necessarily starts and ends with structural intervention and provision of relief. Flood governance would require the innovative combination of initiatives undertaken at various levels. At one level, it is important to conduct “strategic environment assessment” of all development activities in the ecologically pristine locations of the Eastern Himalayas and aim for river basin management… But the most important shift would be to plan a comprehensive initiative to build resilience within the riverine population through an integrated set of interventions which should be based on three pillars: reducing vulnerability, enhancing access to developmental services that flood-prone populations are deprived of, and creating conditions that enable the optimal use of people’s resources.” http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/30/editorials/governing-flood.html

Another informative piece on the issue mentions that on an average every year, 75 lakh hectare of land is affected, 1,600 lives are lost and the damage caused to crops, houses and public utilities due to floods is worth Rs 1,805 crore.

Vulnerability Atlas of India has stopped short of doing flood zonation. A task force set up by the Central Water Commission (CWC) in 2006 did not complete the task and recently an expert body has been constituted to collect data for flood risk mapping at settlement level. But thus may take time before this work is completed.

The CAG’s recent report said a majority of India’s flood forecast systems have either been washed away or their parts have been stolen. “Nearly 60% of the 375 telemetry stations set up between 1997 and 2016 are non-operational which defeats the purpose of investing in the modernisation of flood forecast network.

It goes on to add that the existing flood forecasting network of the CWC is not sufficient to cover the country adequately and that there is an urgent need for the extension of the organisation’s flood forecasting network in consultation with states and India Meteorological Department to cover non-metros. http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/why-india-is-failing-to-minimise-monsoon-flood-destruction/story-4qC6DuVWacsebWBwnvLbjI.html

As per another report on similar lines finds that flood-related loss of both human and cattle lives and economic damages have come down over time. However, there has been a significant change in the nature of flood-related losses in India.

The 1970s was the worst decade in terms of loss human and cattle lives due to floods in India.  Until the 1970s, damage to crops was the biggest component of economic loss due to floods. Over time, damage to public utilities has acquired the biggest share in flood-related losses.

As a share of state GDP, losses due to floods post 2011 are most grim for north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya, and Himachal Pradesh in the north. Hilly regions suffer more due to flash floods which are difficult to predict and also cause landslides. Expanding cities and worsening climate challenges can significantly increase flood-related risks in India. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/M1cZ2bfYHSG7yCdHHvUozN/Are-floods-causing-more-damage-these-days.html

Also see, Flood 2017: Extent of Damage (cumulative figures)

flood damage till 28 july 17 table

 http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJuly-2017.htm

DAMS

Matu Jansangthan बिना जानकारी कैसी जनसुनवाई? पर्यावरण प्रभाव आंकलन, जन सुनवाई का उद्देश्य परियोजनाओं में पारदर्शिता लाने, सम्पूर्ण जानकारी देकर प्रभावितों को विश्वास में लेने व् परियोजना में भविष्य में होने वाली रुकावटों को दूर करना आदि है, किन्तु यहाँ ऐस बिल्कुल करके मात्र और मात्र कागजी प्रक्रिया पूरी की जा रही है | जो पर्यावरण और लोगों के अधिकारों पर खुला हमला है, भविष्य के लिए नए आंदोलन को जन्म देगा चूँकि लोगों से उनके जानने का हक़ छीन का उन पर अँधेरा भविष्य थोपा जा रहा है | बिना सही जानकारी मिले कैसे लोग सही प्रतिक्रिया दे पायेंगे? आखिर सरकार की मंशा किसके विकास की हैइस प्रक्रिया में क्षेत्र के गरीब अनपढ़ किन्तु सच्चे मेहनती कृषकमजदूर के सही विकास की चिंता तो नजर नही रही! http://matuganga.blogspot.in/

Maharashtra Dams stimulate tremors in quake prone areas Filling of Koyna dam in 1962, was followed by a severe earthquake in 1967. Similarly, another dam was built on the Warna river in 1987, some 20km from Koyna saw a 5 magnitude quake near the dam after 6 years. Koyna is earthquake hotspot has seen 22 big, 400 medium and 1000s of small scale earthquakes since 1967 and 2017. Dams are feeding and fueling the tremors.

As per geologists, water pressure in dams can build up in the pores of the Earth and stress the crust to danger levels. Quakes can also be triggered by mining, fracking or extracting water from under the ground. There are more than 100 sites around the world where quakes have been triggered by filling of dams.

VERY GOOD QUESTION: “Critics of the Koyna project like Shyam Rai, a professor of earth sciences, wonder whether the deep borehole is worth its $73m (£56m) price tag. “The maximum intensity of quakes in Koyna is between 6 and 6.5 magnitude. It repeats itself once in several hundred years. The Himalayan region is prone to bigger quakes. Have we chosen the right place to drill?””  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40628028

Centre CWC seeks clarifications from Karnataka on Mekedatu project The Central Water Commission has sought some clarifications from Karnataka on its plan to build a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery at Mekedatu at a cost of Rs 5,912 crore. Earlier, Karnataka had sent a detailed project report to CWC and sought its approval. However, Tamil Nadu has opposed the project on the grounds that it violates the Cauvery tribunal order. The proposed project would have a balancing reservoir with a “gross storage” capacity of 67.14 tmcft and a 400 MW hydro-electric power station.  http://www.deccanherald.com/content/624246/cwc-seeks-clarifications-karnataka-mekedatu.html

Himachal Renuka dam needs to be scrapped Nobody is clear about the need for a dam in Renuka valley. Despite this, the people of the valley are being displaced without adequate compensation. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/renuka-raises-crucial-questions

IRRIGATION

19BMSUGARCANE

Maharashtra Drip Irrigation Scandal in the Making So much money has been spent on drip and sprinkler irrigation in Mah over the last two decades, without any visible impact, this seems like another massive water related scandal in the making. In any case, the state FIRST needs to try and reduce area under sugarcane in water scarce Marathwada and W Mah. And promotion of pulses would actually obviate the need for going for such schemes. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/drip-irrigation-now-a-must-for-sugarcane-farming/article19303951.ece

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Link Media continue to spread false claims on KBL THIS IS SUCH A FACTUALLY WRONG STATEMENT, ONE DOES NOT EXPECT THIS FROM INDIAN EXPRESS: “After a lot of difficulty, the Ken-Betwa link project received environmental, forest and wildlife clearances earlier this year, but now Madhya Pradesh state government has raised some objections, bringing a fresh cloud of uncertainty over the project.”

Fact of the matter is that the Ken Betwa LInk does not have Environment Clearance, It does not have final forest clearance and its wildlife clearance is under scrutiny by CEC, to be followed by Supreme Court Scrutiny. Even the recommendation of the Env clearance is sort of invalid since the Forest and Wildlife committees have put condition that the power component be taken out of forest/ wildlife area, among many other conditions. All this will need fresh appraisal… when I called and told the reporter about this over four hrs ago, he agreed that this needs change.. still awaiting the change, in online version.. I also suggested that to correct the misleading impression such reports carry (there was also an earlier report by the same reporter giving the same misleading impression), a fresh corrected report is necessary. Let us see if it happens. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ken-betwa-experts-unsure-but-mps-see-river-linking-as-the-solution-to-flood-control-4770472/

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Godavari board asks TN & AP to upload project details on website In the 5th meeting of Godavari River Management Board held on July 21, 2017 the new chairman HK Sahu has asked the two govts to upload the data of completed, ongoing and new projects in Godavari basin on board’s website. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have accused each other of taking up new projects (Kaleshwaram and Pattiseema) without prior clearances or permissions. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/jul/22/godavari-river-management-board-asks-ap-to-submit-dpr-on-pattiseema-1632018.html

Meanwhile, work is ongoing on Purushothapatanam Project to lift water from Godavari to take it to Polavaram Left Bank Canal. The project was started on Jan. 05, this year, with a completion deadline of Aug. 15, 2017. The two-phase project is estimated to cost ₹1,638 crore.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/purushothapatnam-project-work-apace-to-meet-aug-15-deadline/article19333522.ece

Telangana further raising the legitimate issues has strongly opposed the moves of Andhra Pradesh government for enhancing the storage capacity of the Muniyeru project for creating an ayacut of 12000 acres on the inter-State border in view of the risk of submergence that would be caused by the project. About 200 acre of fertile agriculture land will be submerged near Chinamandava village once it is completed. https://telanganatoday.com/telangana-opposes-ap-projects

According to another news report, the capacity of the Sitarama Lift Irrigation Project has been enhanced from 50 to 70.4 tmc ft. The area which the dam will irrigate, spread across the districts of Khammam, Bhadradri-Kothagudem and Mahbubabad, has increased from 5.48 lakh acres to 9.36 lakh acres. Khammam and Bhadrachalam districts are the major beneficiaries of the redesign. About 7 lakh acres across the two districts will be irrigated as per the revised designs.”

Media needs to be better informed than writing such misleading stuff, the EAC only approved the TOR for the EIA, not the project: An Expert Appraisal Committee met in Delhi and granted permission for the increase in project capacity. With this, the cost of the project has increased to Rs 9,000 crore.” http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/290717/telangana-sitarama-project-is-bigger-better.html

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

MoEF Dredging for NW-1 needs EC Union environment ministry has told the Ministry of Shipping that the 1,620- km long National Waterway- 1 (NW) between Allahabad and Haldia is not exempt from environmental clearance. It said that the exemption cannot be granted as the whole project has not got an EC, as mandated under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006, and its amendments. MoEF also informed, as per the recommendations of an expert committee, that the EIA notification should be amended to include inland waterways, jetties and multi-modal terminals under the activities that need a prior EC. Interesting set of developments highlighted here, good to see MoEF saying that even maintenance dredging for waterways needs EIA. Unfortunately, reporter strangely seems to think otherwise. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-pmo-s-pet-project-caught-in-moef-shipping-min-tussle-2509212

As per latest report, a proposal for disinvestment of Dredging Corporation of India Limited is under consideration of the Government of India. The proposal is aimed at upgrading technology, improving capability, infusing capital to buy necessary dredgers and equipments and instilling experienced professional management to optimize the operations of DCI. http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/privatisation-of-dredging-corporation-of-india-limited-117072701206_1.html

Also see, major initiatives to develop the National Waterways recently http://inbministry.blogspot.in/2017/07/development-of-inland-waterways.html 

RIVERS

SANDRP Report  प्रवाही नातं by Parineeta Dandekar नद्या, धरणं आणि लोक यांचे आपापसात संबंध, धरणांचा नद्या व लोकांवर होणारा परिणाम हे शोधण्याच्या निमित्ताने परिणीता दांडेकरने उत्तराखंड, हिमाचल प्रदेश, ईशान्य भारत या भागात होऊ पाहणाऱ्या धरणांचा  भरपूर अभ्यास केला. ‘‘मी माझ्या कामासंबंधी, माझ्या विषयासंबंधी दीपकशी चर्चा करत असते. त्याचं वाचन अफाट आहे. त्याच्याकडे वैज्ञानिक दृष्टिकोन आहे. एखाद्या गोष्टीमागील वैज्ञानिक सत्य काय आहे ते समजून घ्यायला मला त्याची नेहमी मदत होते.’’ परिणीता सांगते. तिच्या व दीपक यांच्यातल्या समजूतदारपणामुळेच त्याचं नातं प्रवाही झालं आहे. http://www.loksatta.com/sarvarthane-jodidar-news/the-story-of-deepak-and-parineeta-dandekar-1520430/  

Manipur MoEF released no funds for Nambul river pollution Statement of Environment Minister in Rajya Sabha on July 24, 2017, “MoEF has released no funds to State Govt for reducing the pollution of Nambul river under NRCP. A conceptual project report for ‘ Waste water Treatment and Cleanup in Nambul and Waishel Maril Basins, Manipur’ amounting to Rs 452.44 crore was received from the State Govt in May, 2015 and returned in May 2015, itself, as it was not prepared per the guidelines of NRCP.” http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=7..250717.jul17

National River front development kills rivers The Central Govt has sanctioned more than Rs 1,200 crore for the development of beaches and rivers as tourists spots. For developing its beaches, Goa is set to receive the highest payout of around Rs 200 crore during financial years 2016 -17 and 2017-18. Along with this, funds have also been sanctioned to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Maharashtra. For the development of river fronts, funds have been sanctioned to Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/rs-1200-cr-sanctioned-for-development-of-beaches-rivers-as-tourist-spots-government/articleshow/59666656.cms

Kerala People’s movement brings back to life dead river  Varattar, a perennial freshwater source linking two rivers in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts has been dead for many years due to large scale sand mining and encroachment, coupled with deficient rainfall over the years. Facing the water scarcity following the recent drought, people started a movement to revive the river and now their efforts have come to a full circle. This story has been told earlier, but worth telling again. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/3Oa9tjIDeI3fbg8shkkE1O/In-Kerala-a-peoples-movement-brings-back-to-life-dead-rive.html

Maharashtra PMC unable to start Mula Mutha project  The ₹ 926 crore project (for pollution abatement of river by Jan. 2022) for Mula Mutha River Development was approved by the central govt in Jan. 2016, yet the project has failed to kick-start as the central govt has failed to appoint a consultant for preparing the tender document.  Japan Govt has committed the loan at an interest rate of 0.30 percentage per annum.  The Mula Mutha river which is passing through Pune city is one of the 302 polluted rivers in the country. Pune could be going the Ahmedabad way in destroying its river if citizens do not stand up. http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/pmc-unable-to-start-1-000-crore-mula-mutha-river-development-project/story-520vTf29yALlm0Tf15J8cP.html

Further to this, the annual Environment Status Report has once again highlighted the worsening condition of rivers in Pune. It finds the level of pollution has increased in the Mula and Mutha river due to rapid urbanisation in the fringes. The situation may aggravate due to the burden on the natural resources by rising population. As per Sarang Yadwadkar, an environmentalist, the approach of looking at the river as commodity should be changed. Steps must to be taken to the augment river streams. But it has not been done and encroachments have added to the problem. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/environment-report-raises-alarm-over-noise-air-and-river-pollution/articleshow/59836893.cms

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s River March Group has come up with an innovative plan to clean four of the most polluted rivers that pass through the city— Poisar, Oshiwara, Mithi and Dahisar by making an artificial floating island which will absorb pollution and impurities from the rivers. On an experimental basis, the floating island will be placed in Poisar river at Kandivali. http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mumbai-floating-island-to-flush-out-river-filth/1112720

CAUVERY Report As a river dies As crops and farmers die, experts blame a man-made “drought of common sense” for the drying up of Southern India’s Cauvery River, once a lifeline to millions. Insight investigates. This article tries to give a comprehensive picture of Cauvery river basin but does not entirely succeed. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/as-a-river-dies-india-could-be-facing-its-greatest-human-9060070

NARMADA Sardar Sarovar Dam Celebration of Narmada death To celebrate the completion of Sardar Sarovar dam, Gujarat govt has planned an event. In fact this is celebration of the death of the Narmada River in which the PM will participate. As per the event a procession will start from 85 cities/ towns, just going to show that the project is now based so much on Urban benefits, while it was justified in the name of drought prone villages. The celebration will also be on the foundation of displacement of lakhs of people, deforestation of over ten thousand ha of forest, destruction of fisheries livelihood for over ten thousand families in Narmada estuary, among many other reasons for despair. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/narmada-mahotsav-85-raths-to-meander-through-10000-villages/articleshow/59709724.cms

In the Op-Ed, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon are right that the dam gates may close come August, but the Sardar Sarovar reservoir will be a testimony to how successive governments, the judiciary and experts stuck to their idea of gigantism at the cost of the very citizens they seek to serve. http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-sardar-sarovar-project-comes-at-too-high-a-cost-for-citizens-2511618

narmada-rehabilitation-story_2e2a4c76-72de-11e7-a83f-2f06dfe08b4c

Meanwhile, seeing reluctance over rehabilitation of displaced, Medha Patkar, NBA activists has decided to go on indefinite hunger strike from July 27 against illegal submergence and displacement due to closing of gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, affecting areas in MP and Maharashtra. http://www.firstpost.com/india/sardar-sarovar-dam-medha-patkar-to-go-on-indefinite-fast-on-banks-of-river-narmada-from-27-july-3855543.html

It’s true that a major tragedy is in store due to Sardar Sarovar Dam and inhuman decisions of Central Govt, and state govts of Gujarat, MP and Maharashtra. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mission-eviction-on-war-footing-along-narmada-river/story-LwhPeXokeGSj3ZD4bYrzaK.html

GANGA Centre Detail of construction of STP/ETP in last 3 years   Ministry of Water Resources in a written statement before the Rajya Sabha have mentioned that 7 numbers of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) have been commissioned on the bank of river Ganga in last three years under Namami Gange Programme. 27 Nos. of STPs are under construction. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelcontent.aspx?relid=168932

In another statement MoWR has further mentioned that Govt has approved 21 municipal sewage management projects during March to May 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs. 3044.48 crore targeting creation / rehabilitation of sewage treatment capacity of 948.06 MLD. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=168933

As per another PIB release, during inspections between January-May, 2017, 118 out of 386 tanneries inspected in Kanpur were found complying with the discharge norms as well as Online Continuous Effluent Monitoring Systems (OCEMS) connectivity. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=168934

It seems, the main focus of Namami Gange has become creation of more sewage treatment infrastructure and not the actual rejuvenation of the national river.

RITWICK DUTTA on NGT’s Ganga Order of July 13, 2017. He notes interesting confession of SC of its failure to achieve any success in Ganga pollution even after 30 years: “We regret to say that the intervention and sustained effort made by us over the past 30 years notwithstanding no fruitful result has been achieved so far, except shutting down of some of the polluting units. This is largely because while orders have been passed by us, the implementation remains in the hands of statutory authorities including the CPCB and the State PCBs which have done practically nothing to effectuate those orders or to take independent steps that would prevent pollution of the river. A total lack of monitoring by the Statutory bodies has contributed to the current state of affairs”.

Dutta pertinently notes: “The SC’s orders for cleaning up the Ganga were flouted with impunity. After 30 years of effort, not a single officer was held guilty for willful and deliberate violation of the orders of the highest Constitutional Court armed with powers of contempt.”

And yet he is tentative about the effectiveness of the NGT order: “Only time will tell how seriously the NGT’s order will be followed. The latest judgement of the NGT is one more effort by the court to clean the river. Hopefully, the efforts of the court will not go down the drain.” Missing is the word governance in the entire article, unfortunately. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/despite-sc-order-ganga-s-plight-no-different-from-that-of-the-holy-cow-117071900182_1.html

YAMUNA Centre Extinction of River Yamuna in Delhi and Agra As Very Informative PIB release, it accepts that “the major reasons for high level of pollution in river Yamuna is inadequate flow, due to over extraction of surface and ground water and discharge of untreated effluent.” BUT NOTHING IS BEING DONE TO ENSURE A FLOWING YAMUNA. Under YAP I & II since 1993, Govt has spent Rs. 1514.70 crore. (achieving only a dirtier and dying Yamuna.) At present 7 years duration and JICA assisted YAP Phase-III is under implementation at an estimated cost of Rs 1656 crore in Delhi.

In “Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan 2017, under Phase-I”, the Ministry has sanctioned the STP works in Command area of Najafgarh Drain (Dhansa to Keshopur) in Delhi for an estimated amount of Rs. 344.81 crore on 70:30 cost sharing basis between the Centre and the Delhi State Government.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=168929

AOL Row NGT asks DDA for action plan to fix floodplains The green tribunal on July 22, 2017 has directed the Delhi Development Authority to submit an action plan within a week on restoration of the Yamuna floodplains damaged by Art of Living event even as monsoon as set in. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/year-after-sri-sri-event-ngt-gives-one-week-to-dda-for-action-plan-to-fix-yamuna-floodplains-4761953/

SAND MINING

West Bengal Critical gap in sand mining reform The environmental provisions in the new Rules are drafted using broad and vague wording, rendering them toothless. A rule obliging the “protection of environment” is so broad it is practically meaningless. Furthermore, the rule is arguably only protecting environmental damage at the mining site, rather than damage up or downstream from mining activity (which is often the case).

These Rules also fail to make the connection with laws relating to different forms of pollution, such as air pollution, noise pollution and the discharge of effluents into water. There is no mention of water pollution, groundwater and river flows, in a situation where riverbed mining’s worst impacts are on water quality, groundwater availability and downstream river water availability. The Rules also have loopholes that allow circumvention from environmental compliance. https://thewire.in/161840/sand-mining-reforms-west-bengal/

Andhra Pradesh Sand mining goes unabated in Kurnool The report shows that illegal sand mining goes unabated in the district during night times with the official’s concerned turning a blind eye. In blatant violation of norms, the traders are transporting sand to other parts by allegedly bribing the officials. Illegal sand transportation was evident at Panchalingala and Munagalapadu, Nidzur and Singavaram villages in Kurnool mandal. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-07-24/Sand-mining-goes-unabated-in-Kurnool/314203

WETLANDS & WATER BODIES

National SC expresses concern over disappearance of wetlands The Supreme Court on July 20, 2017 expressed concern over “vanishing” of wetlands in the country and asked the Centre to explain about the “huge amount” of money spent on various works related to preservation of the water bodies. The top court had earlier expressed its concern over a huge expenditure of Rs 945.95 crore on various works related to wetlands and had said that the activities shown were extremely general in nature. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/supreme-court-expresses-concern-over-disappearance-of-wetlands-in-india/articleshow/59685015.cms

Maharashtra 523 wetlands were destroyed in five years NGO Vanashakti has revealed that between 2012 and 2017 alone, 523 cases of wetland destruction were reported in the State. Ten major cases were reported from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, but the most cases were reported in Thane, at Kalher, Kasheli and Dombivli among other areas. In Mumbai, the destruction is taking place at a 400-acre patch opposite Millat Nagar in Oshiwara-Lonkhandwala, a 15-acre patch at Shivaji Nagar, a 200 acre patch in Charkop and a 10-acre patch in Dahisar. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/523-wetlands-were-destroyed-in-maharashtra-in-five-years-report/story-vXeozjltyhMeB4GGMALWTI.html

Hyderabad Ameenpur lake becomes first urban biodiversity heritage site India recently conferred biodiversity heritage status on an unlikely candidate – the Ameenpur Lake on the fringes of Hyderabad. Other sites across the country also received this distinction. Among them are the shola grasslands of Chikmagalur, the pristine forests of Gadchiroli and Dailong village in Manipur. http://www.earthamag.org/stories/2017/6/21/indias-first-urban-biodiversity-heritage-tag-a-ray-of-hope-for-lake-conservationists

Delhi Ballerinas  of Najafgarh Neha Sinha narrates how Najafgarh Jheel, in spite of all the atrocities Delhi heaps on it, including calling it a drain, is valued as a wetlands by the birds. http://www.thehindu.com/society/ballerinas-of-najafgarh/article19325363.ece

India Water Portal, Let’s Invest in Nature Series

Manipur Floating national park calls for help A poor understanding of the seasonal flows of water and a narrow focus on hydropower generation have transformed the naturally fluctuating lake into a mere reservoir. Regulating the wetlands for hydropower generation has led to an alteration in the ecology of the lake’s ecosystem resulting in the long-term damage to the wetland. Compared to its thriving past, Loktak seems to be sitting on the very fringes of being transformed into a reservoir with relatively marginal to insignificant ecosystem existing within itself. A video on wise use of Loktak lake, rather than allowing hydropower destroy it.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/floating-national-park-calls-help

Jammu & Kashmir Managing the willow in Wular lake Although much of the lake has undergone an alarmingly high level of degradation, there is still a possibility for its restoration. The cost-benefit analysis of the Wular wetland indicates a clear economic benefit from planned willow removal and dredging. Willows removed from the fringes of the Wular would assist in restoring the hydrological functioning of the wetland complex and improve the lake’s capacity to mitigate flood-related damages. Short video on how better management of Wular lake on Jhelum river can help improve the flood cushion, among other benefits. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/managing-willows-wular-lake

Gujarat Little Rann of Kutch under threat This is an informative article and a short video on Little Rann of Kutch. The seasonal inflow of water during monsoon transforms LRK into a large, shallow wetland. In subsequent warmer months though, the floodwaters evaporate, gradually transforming it into a saline, dusty desert. These seasonal water dynamics makes LRK a highly productive landscape–both ecologically and economically. This wetland is a source for one-third of India’s total inland salt production. Besides producing salt, the region is also the main source of ginger prawn export. Though a seemingly stark landscape, it is rich in biodiversity and is an ecologically important area for wildlife and many local and migratory water birds. It is known to be the world’s last refuge of the Indian Wild Asses and acts as a major nesting ground for the gorgeous Lesser Flamingoes–the only place outside Africa to serve as a conducive environment for the breeding of these magnificent birds.

THREATS: Unfortunately, the Little Rann of Kutch is at a risk of losing all these. It is being increasingly threatened by upstream hydrological regime changes. By increasing diversion and storage of water from the catchment into dams, the seasonal flow of freshwater into the LRK is reduced. Further, the blocking of creeks reduces the essential seawater inflow into the LRK which impinges on the natural interplay between salt production, prawn fishing and migratory patterns. Without the seasonal water flow dynamics, the LRK loses its unique ecological character, and subsequently, its productivity.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/little-rann-kutch

WATER OPTIONS

South India Crowd funding restores ponds in drought-hit  The worst drought has led to an unusual crowd funding campaign to help restore a village pond in one of the worst affected areas, with a similar effort planned for a second pond. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-climatechange-funding-idUSKBN1AC02L

Gujarat Village auction their sewage water The small town of Kanodar in the Bansankhtha district of Gujarat have started to have an auction for the sewage water collected. The bidding happens every year. The sewage water is used in farming, for irrigation purposes as there is low groundwater prevailing in the village. Due to the following of this idea the village Panchayat has received revenue of Rs, 80,000. http://www.india.com/buzz/this-gujarat-village-should-get-the-award-for-best-out-of-waste-as-they-auction-their-sewage-water-2349580/

GROUND WATER

Tamil Nadu Groundwater recharge a necessity; need not depend on climate fund The State Water Resources department plans to construct nearly 177 groundwater recharging structures across the river basins covering 29 districts at a cost of ₹1,445 crore under the Green Climate Fund. The first priority should be to build local smaller structures rather than big one on rivers. This is a necessity and need not wait for the funds from GCF. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/state-wide-project-to-boost-groundwater/article19319548.ece  

WATER

Urban Planning Poorly planned cities cannot withstand extreme weather According to a document on Indian cities planning, no hydrological, meteorological or topographical study was conducted and thus, the storm water drains were built with little understanding of the course of water flow, rainfall patterns and surface terrain. It says 347 people died in Chennai in Dec 2015 and over 1000 in Mumbai in July 2005, and more elsewhere (Gurgaon June 2016, Surat Aug 2006, Srinagar Sept 2014), due to Urban flooding where this was a major cause, but no lessons are learnt. With this kind of foundation, no city of India is either smart of safe.

Jal Manthan  Involve independent voices to make it work  This is surprising that without involving any independent or critical voices. On what basis the earlier Jal Manthan were declared a success remains a mystery. http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/no-politics-on-water-says-uma-bharti-jal-mantha-iv-inaugurated-117072800644_1.html

DELHI WATER

Conflict of Interest DJB V-C who gave nod to projects now probes them As per the report, Delhi Assembly’s Estimates Committee, headed by AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya, is probing alleged irregularities amounting to Rs 776.7 crore in three Delhi Jal Board projects, which were approved by a board of which Mohaniya as vice-chairperson. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/alleged-irregularities-under-scanner-djb-v-c-who-gave-nod-to-projects-now-probes-them-4761969/

DROUGHT 2017

Karnataka Looming water crisis  Dakshina Kannada appears to be staring at another water crisis with the less than normal monsoon. So far the region has received just about 60% of the normal rainfall. As on July 28, the district received 766 mm rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 1,217 mm and last year’s 876.5 mm, with nearly 42 % deficiency. The rainfall throughout the year too has been meagre with 1,810.2 mm from January to July 28 as against 2,393.2 mm and last year’s 1967.2 mm, amounting to nearly 25% deficiency. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/another-water-crisis-looming-large/article19392774.ece

MONSOON 2017

Research Indian Monsoon has intensified since 2002 Key findings

– Higher rainfall in North and CEntral India, after a 50 yr dry cycle: “Between 1950 and 2002, they found that north central India experienced a decrease in daily rainfall average, of 0.18 millimeters per decade, during the monsoon season. To their surprise, they discovered that since 2002, precipitation in the region has revived, increasing daily rainfall average by 1.34 millimeters per decade.”

– Land temperature has gone up much faster compared to Indian Ocean, that was earlier warming, but has slowed down in recent years, this combination means intensification of rains

-The researchers did note a brief drying period during the 2015 monsoon season that caused widespread droughts throughout the subcontinent. They attribute this blip in the trend to a severe El Niño season, where ocean temperatures temporarily rise, causing a shift in atmospheric circulation, leading to decreased rainfall in India and elsewhere.

– “But even counting that dry year, the long-term [wetting] trend is still pretty steady,” Wang says.

– Ocean cooling could be a result of the natural ebb and flow of long-term sea temperatures. India’s land warming on the other hand, could trace back to reduced cloud cover, particularly at low altitudes. Normally, clouds act to reflect incoming sunlight. But Wang and others have observed that in recent years, India has experienced a reduction in low clouds, perhaps in response to an increase in anthropogenic aerosols such as black carbon or soot, which can simultaneously absorb and heat the surrounding air, and prevent clouds from forming.

– But Aerosols existed even before 2002, so something else must be at work.

AGRICULTURE

Maharashtra Farmers blame IMD for wrong information This petition highlights that the IMD forecast for normal rains is not a guarantee for ANY OF THE FARMERS that they will get normal rains where their kharif crops would be normal. https://www.villagesquare.in/2017/07/21/farmers-maharashtra-fear-loss-kharif-harvest-blame-met-department/

Odisha Focus on SRI technique This is good news that the Malkangiri administration has decided to grow paddy in 73,125 hectares  of land during the current kharif season and this will include growing the crop in 56,000 ha through System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/agri-officers-focus-on-sri-technique-1632417.html

CSE Crop insurers made Rs 10,000 crore profit amid agrarian crisis An independent evaluation of the Modi government’s much-touted crop insurance scheme by CSE has showed that insurers gained nearly Rs 10,000 crore in gross profit during the last kharif season, from June to November 2016. However, it settled less than a third of the crop-loss claims filed till early this year. The report shows that insurance companies had only settled 32.45% of the claims made till April 2017. This shows how scandalous is the PM’s Fasal Bima Yojana. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/crop-insurers-made-rs-10-000-crore-profit-amid-agrarian-crisis-cse/story-8lL12Lu4Si75gSmEJ1g8YJ.html

SOUTH ASIA

Doklam Row Bhutan, economic challenges from shifting Indian policy is the larger issue Exposing, almost explosive perspective from Bhutan in the context of Doklam Confrontation at India-China-Bhutan tri-junction that concludes: “In the bigger picture for Bhutan, Doklam, no doubt, is a serious issue, but it is a comparatively minor distraction compared to the developments in the economic sector.” WHY? Here are some reasons it offers:

– India has not kept its word of helping Bhutan achieve 5000 MW hydropower by 2020 in the first place, latter increased to 10000 MW.

India imposed Joint Venture for the four hydropower projects after Punatsangchu I and II and 720 MW Mangdechu: “The initial 5,000 MW projects were largely understood to be ‘Tala like’ projects with soft financing and full RGoB ownership but since the ante was upped to 10,000 MW, India asked and was given, a 50 percent stake in four hydro projects as ‘Joint Venture’ projects. The earlier 60 grant and 40 loan scheme was changed to a more stringent 30 grant and 70 commercial loan scheme.”

– And “the Indian side pushed to implement the four joint venture projects. These are the 770 MW Chamkarchu project, 600 MW Kholongchu project, 570 MW Wangchu project and 180 MW Bunakha project coming to a total of 2,120 MW.

This left Bhutan flummoxed as the four JV’s and tougher financing conditions of 70 loan and 30 grant had been agreed to as part of a larger 10,000 MW deal that included the 2,500 MW Sunkosh reservoir project and the 2,640 MW Kuri Gongri reservoir projects.”

– The article says “However, starting from 2014 onwards itself, Bhutan woke up to a rude economic shock when the new NDA government made it plain that 10,000 MW by 2020 would no longer be possible due to “financing concerns”.” but misses to say that India then said it can no longer fund Sunkosh and Kuri GOngri and also Amochu, which is close to the tri junction now in focus.

– “The JV companies from the Indian side, which were Indian PSUs from day one, rubbed off the RGoB the wrong way, from making demands that went beyond the larger JV agreement between the two governments to asking for more management control and even refusing to come up with the agreed financing.”

– “If this was not enough India’s power ministry on December 5, 2016 issued a Cross Border Trade of Electricity (CBTE) guidelines with inputs from India’s Ministry of External Affairs. The CBTE, though meant to be a general cross border electricity trade guideline, was seen to be mainly targeting Bhutan as it, using the monopoly of India being Bhutan’s sole power market, restricted the type of hydropower investments that could be made in Bhutan, put Bhutan at a disadvantage in setting future tariff rates beyond the current government to government formula and denied Bhutan access to India’s primary power market where tariff rates are more competitive. Strangely CBTE even asked that any power trading company exporting power to India from another country (read Bhutan) would be required to have 51 percent Indian ownership.”

– “Bhutan has refused to sign the Concession Agreement for the JV projects citing the manner in which CBTE and the demands of JVs violate the agreement between the two governments.”

– “As if matters couldn’t get any worse India declared itself to be power surplus in 2017 with falling tariff rates that now puts the entire hydropower sector of Bhutan in jeopardy.”

– “In another additional blow, Bhutan’s trade deficit is set to worsen as India’s Good and Services Tax (GST) taxes makes its exports to Bhutan cheaper and imports from Bhutan more expensive. The small but important industrial belt in southern Bhutan that contributes in a major way to Bhutan’s taxes and economy is in a crisis mode.”

This perspective from Bhutan is coming to public possibly for the first time. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/more-than-the-doklam-issue-bhutan-worried-about-hydropower-deficits-4768598/

Report India eyes new waterways with Bangladesh India Bangladesh waterways: As per, Mansukh Mandviya, Union Minister, India will dredge the Brahmaputra river on its side and the Bangladesh  will dredge the river on their side. Govt expect that within the next one year the new waterway would be operational and it would boost the trade and people to people contact.

According to Tripura Transport Secretary Samarjit Bhowmik, the state govt had submitted proposals to develop waterways between Tripura’s Gomati and Howrah and Bangladeshi rivers.

The Shipping Ministry has recently sanctioned Rs 120 million and asked the state government to submit detailed project reports to develop waterways between Tripura’s Gomti and Bangladesh’s Meghna rivers.

Since 1972, four inland water routes between India and Bangladesh are currently operational: Kolkata-Pandu (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Kolkata-Karimganj (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Rajshahi (in Bangladesh)-Dhulian (in southern Assam) and Karimganj-Pandu-Karimganj via Bangladesh.

The country has taken16 waterway projects, mostly involving Bangladesh. The two countries have a 2,979 km land border and 1,116 km of riverine boundary. They also share 54 common rivers. http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2017/07/23/77751/India-eyes-new-waterway%C2%A0with-Bangladesh-soon

Indus Water Treaty Hard line stand by someone from military, who is considered INDUS EXPERT as per the article The report reads that “The Sino-Pak proposal of constructing dams in disputed territory will put provisions of IWT under severe pressure. With limited space for talks, it is bound to make Pakistan’s water relationship with India extremely tense. The Chinese role may cast a mortal blow to IWT and even force India to withdraw from it. India has to appreciate that inclusion of water security into CPEC essentially is a political choice for Pakistan and China though the issue does not fall within the otherwise commercial mandate of OBOR. We need to understand the nuances of this collusive action by Pakistan and China in PoK and raise objections to the Chinese presence there.” http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/dams-pakistan-will-build/439651.html

It’s worth to mention that India and Pakistan to hold secretary level talks on Indus treaty differences at World Bank in Washington Next week. https://kashmirobserver.net/breaking-news/21096

Nepal Tamakoshi project in Limbo Tamakoshi 3 HEP (650 MW) remains stuck in Nepal after Norwegian  company pulled out in Jan 2016 as it found difficult to sell the electricity from the project. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-07-23/tamakoshi-3-hydro-project-stuck-in-limbo.html

Meanwhile according to David Petley blog, a landslide in Nepal has led to collapse of bridge over Bhotekoshi river, blocking road to Tibet. The river was blocked briefly. http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2017/07/24/larcha-1/

Bhutan E.Coli found in Thimphu and Paro rivers Water samples collected at various locations from the rivers in Thimphu and Paro were found to contain bacteria E.Coli. E.Coli is commonly found in the faeces of humans and other animals, indicating a possible presence of harmful, disease-causing organisms. Presence of E.Coli shows that sewerage is entering the river. Pathogens can enter the water from leaking septic tanks, wastewater treatment discharge and animal waste. http://www.kuenselonline.com/e-coli-bacteria-found-in-thimphu-and-paro-rivers/

THE REST OF THE WORLD

America Oroville Dam may collapse due to leakages In a 124-page report, Robert Bea of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at UC Berkeley warns that the dam may be “facing a breach danger from a serious and a dangerous form of a slow-motion failure mode” from persistent leaks in the main dam, perhaps caused by internal shifting of dam fill. The report notes that the sensors embedded in the dam to detect such problems quit working years ago.  http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Catastrophic-Engineering-Expert-Asks-Is-Oroville-Dam-Leaking.html One more news report also raises the same issue referring to the UC Berkeley report. https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/07/21/oroville-dam-spillway-report-alleges-dwr-ferc-negligence/ Following these reports, several groups have written to the FERC to delay relicensing of the Oroville Dam. http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/21/oroville-dam-after-10-years-of-delays-on-relicensing-16-groups-want-more-time/

American Rivers  Map of dams removed since 1916 Dams cause considerable harm to rivers. Dams have depleted fisheries, degraded river ecosystems, and altered recreational opportunities on nearly all of our nation’s rivers. Today, many dams that were once at the epicenter of a community’s livelihood are now old, unsafe or no longer serving their intended purposes. Learn how Americans are working to remove these dams and restore our rivers to their natural free-flowing state. https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/restoring-damaged-rivers/dam-removal-map/

Global Freedom to the rivers The Coalition for the Protection of the Rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina draws attention to the uncontrolled construction of the hydropower plants and the destruction of our most valuable natural values. This is a common fight! Freedom to the rivers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QjAAnFWPng  

Australia Solution to state’s water problems KEY features of Groundwater sharing and management proposal: “In addition to having an allocation of shares, Young said determining how much water can be used year by year is also critical, which he said can be accomplished by giving everyone a water account, which he said should work “just like your bank account.”

“You look at how much water is available in the district and you divide the number of shares into that and then you credit everybody’s water account with that volume,” Young said, adding that ensuring the system in place is respected and trusted by the community is another important component.”

“In addition to figuring out who is eligible, Young said there are five more steps involved in issuing shares, which include designing the share allocation database, assembling and validating the database, dev eloping and finalizing the allocation formula, which he said should be advised by an independent panel or person, building a share register and, where appropriate, record financial interests. Young said the last step is confirming the accuracy of the share register.” http://www.recorderonline.com/news/australian-has-a-solution-to-state-s-water-problems/article_27eb6b24-6e8d-11e7-b0c4-d38bfe71842d.html

CLIMATE CHANGE

National Shocking climate funds diverted for non climate purposes As per the report, a RTI query has revealed that unspent funds of Rs 56,700 crore lying in the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund have been diverted to compensating the states that stand to lose revenue as a consequence of the GST. https://scroll.in/article/844528/india-diverts-rs-56700-crore-from-the-fight-against-climate-change-to-goods-and-service-tax-regime

As per separate news, the National Steering Committee on Climate Change has approved Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sikkim Govts projects for funding under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC). During the last 2 year period NAFCC has approved 21 projects based on State Action Plans on Climate Change at a total cost of Rs. 435.72 crore.

This needs to be actively reviewed, since on the face of it, seems like lip service in the shadow of environmental destruction that is going on.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=168660

Since 1980, the number of sites in the world that regularly experience dangerous (potentially fatal) heat waves has multiplied an incredible fifty-fold. The scale of what is happening everywhere seems almost beyond human comprehension. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/the-last-monsoon/articleshow/59715021.cms

Meanwhile a new study has revealed that climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in the Pacific and Asia. It also warned that Southern India may witness a decline in rice yields by 5 percent in 2030s. It’s nteresting to see that this report does mention SUBSIDENCE even if in passing, but no details as to the cause. 4 India Cities are listed (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Surat) facing the largest increase in annual losses. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/severe-climate-change-effect-on-asia-india-at-high-risk-of-flooding-study-1725022

A study has warns that if climate change continues to progress, increased precipitation could mean detrimental outcomes for water quality in the United States, a major new study warns. This shows that more rainfall as a result of climate change does not necessarily mean only good things. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/water-quality-hypoxia-environment-rain-precipitation-climate-change/ 

ENVIRONMENT

MoEF set to dilute Environment Protection Act 1986 The Central Govt is set to dilute the law and impose fines up to Rs 1 crore on environmental polluters without going through judicial wrangling. As per report, in 2016, the government had informed the Supreme Court that it had not been able to jail any polluter for several years under these provisions and a maximum fine of Rs 25,000 had been imposed in a few cases. The amendment has been finalised and is likely to go for the Cabinet’s approval soon.

The plan is to amend this and other provisions of the law to make pollution a civil offence for which the government can then demand costs from the polluters without going to the courts. As per officials, the amendment to the law will set up an expert panel which will look at cases of pollution and calculate the cost of remediation. https://scroll.in/article/845100/amendment-to-environment-law-ready-polluters-to-pay-up-to-rs-1-crore-without-judicial-review

On the other hand, a study conducted by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, has revealed that there is lack of monitoring of environmental conditions laid down while approving a particular project and the environment ministry explicitly imposed monitoring requirements only in 44% of cases that came before it for clearance.

It also says that in 27% of the cases, there was some ambiguity regarding monitoring requirements. For its report, titled “Environmental clearances and monitoring in India—report card for the ministry of environment, forest and climate change”, Vidhi analysed 560 projects between 1 June 2014 and 25 May 2016 which were considered by the EAC and which were given environmental clearance later. The report studied the proportion of instances in which the ministry imposed monitoring requirements on its regional offices while granting ECs. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/ZnHIad1nmrGRhWxbiK7W0M/Monitoring-of-conditions-tied-to-environmental-clearance-are.html

As per a working paper by Centre for Policy Research titled, “Anatomy of legalising violations: Examining Environment Ministry’s policy of post facto approvals”  between March 15, 2017 and June 15, 2017, 207 projects that violated the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification applied for an environmental clearance. These applications have come as a result of a notification that the Environment Ministry had passed on March 14, 2017, which gives an opportunity to projects that have violated conditions of the EIA Notification to apply for a clearance within a period of six months, that is by September 15. http://cprindia.org/news/6339

23SMGADANA

Western Ghats 30 years of saver Western Ghat movement Pankaj Seksaria celebrates the 30 years of save WESTERN GHATS march and the journey since then. In a phenomenon that has taken many by surprise, more than 160 new species of amphibians, mainly frogs, have been discovered in the Western Ghats in the last decade. Fourteen new species of dancing frogs were discovered in 2014, and 12 new frogs have already been discovered this year. Frogs are also one of the most sensitive creatures and among the first affected by changes such as forest loss or climate change. They are critical ecological indicators and their discovery in larger numbers only suggests we have a larger responsibility. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/a-mountain-and-a-movement/article19325463.ece 

Save Ennore Creek Time to change the course Nityanand and TM Krishna are brilliant about Chennai’s defining element (water) it is hurling from one crisis to another and its death wish: “In June, the State government conceded the Government of India-owned Kamarajar Port Ltd’s (KPL) request to divert 1,000 acres of the hydrologically sensitive Ennore wetlands for industrial installations that are best built on dry land. The proposal is pending Central government clearance. If permitted, KPL’s dream will turn out to be Chennai’s worst nightmare, far worse than the 2015 floods.”

WOW: “Our song about Chennai spotlights the undervalued Ennore Creek, because with every cut to the creek, Chennai will hurt a hundred times. The song has resonated with fishers to whom the creek is life, and with lakhs more across the world. When, not if, Ennore floods this year or next, people will know it was not an accident. If plans to fill the creek persist, Chennai will have no future. The precious freshwater aquifer that Chennai draws from will be lost to salt. The precious freshwater that falls from the sky will turn the city into a watery grave.” http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/time-to-change-course/article19366014.ece

Op-Ed Move to put a monetary value to forests could spell disaster by Peter Smetacek This is hard hitting. “Today, we need a network of untouched forests and natural ecosystems in the headwaters of every, repeat, every Indian water source, in order to stabilise our water resources.” “Anyone who cannot see that is unworthy of occupying a decision-making post. Anyone who cannot understand the processes whereby life exists on earth should not even be allowed in the door of decision-making committees.” https://scroll.in/article/843858/in-india-a-move-to-give-monetary-value-to-forests-could-spell-disaster-for-protected-landscapes

Odisha Govt to make new law for protection of fishermen interest In a bid to protect the rights of traditional fishermen communities living in and around Chilika lake, Odisha government on July 24, 2017 has decided to bring a proper legislation in this regard. A proposal in this regard submitted by the Forest and Environment department was approved at the state cabinet meeting chaired by CM. Interesting proposal. We in fact need protection of fisher people’s livelihood everywhere? http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-odisha-to-make-new-law-for-protection-of-fishermen-interest-in-2513692

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 24 July 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 17 July 2017 

One Comment on “DRP News Bulletin 31 July 2017 (Dams Turning Floods into Disasters, Yet We Continue to Push More & Bigger Dams)  

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