DRP News Bulletin 14 August 2017 East & North East India face flooded Independence day

FLOODS 2017

SANDRP BLOG: Brahmaputra basin to face unprecedented floods starting Aug 12, 2017: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/brahmaputra-basin-faces-unprecedented-flood-wave-in-aug-2017/

North Bengal Flood situation “Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling are the five districts which have been affected by the flood. Earlier in the day, Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said that the state government is tackling the flood in north Bengal on war footing.” 58,000 people had been affected in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.

MAY BE IF THEY WOKE TWO DAYS EARLIER WHEN NASA MAP CLEARLY SHOWED THE HEAVY RAINFALL HAVING ALREADY OCCURRED, THEY MAY NOT HAVE HAD TO TACKLE IT ON WAR FOOTING AND A LOT OF DAMAGE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED? http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/flood-situation-worsening-in-north-bengal-says-mamata-banerjee-1736993

 Gujarat, Assam floods: Why blaming climate change, while customary, is also unhelpful EXCELLENT: WHY CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT THE ONLY CULPRIT FOR THE FLOODS AND OTHER DISASTERS: “This appears to be the year for breaking records. Mt Abu, in Rajasthan, has had record rainfall this July — the highest in over 100 years. The combination of runoff from here, unusually heavy rain in Banaskantha and a canal breach have flooded parts of northern Gujarat. Ahmedabad may break a 100-year record for heaviest rainfall in July, receiving three times the normal amount. Several places in Gujarat received a large fraction of an entire season’s rainfall in 24 hours.”

– “Moreover, in a vulnerability assessment by the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, July rainfall for Gujarat is expected to go up, while the number of rainy days is set to remain roughly the same in the coming decades (another study shows fewer rainy days). This means more rain will fall on the same or fewer days. This sets the stage for the next prediction: The number of events with >100mm rainfall for three consecutive days is also expected to increase over most of the country. Translated: Last month’s floods will become more likely going forward.”

– “In a record of a different hue, South India experienced its worst drought in over a hundred years this past year.”

– “Because of the societal disarray, for the lack of a better phrase, the “impact” of climate change is mostly more acute than it needs to be. You see, the link between “extreme rainfall” and “human tragedy” is not set in stone. Extreme events need not translate into human tragedies. That part of the link has a lot to do with societal choices we make.” http://www.firstpost.com/living/gujarat-assam-floods-why-blaming-climate-change-while-customary-is-also-unhelpful-3893631.html

Gujarat floods Indeed, Narmada Canal played a key role in disaster in Khariya village: “On the night of July 23, relentless rains forced the state government to release water from Banaskantha’s Dantiwada and Sipu dams, causing the Banas river to overflow. Near Khariya, at an intersection of the Banas and the Narmada dam canal, the force of the Banas waters also caused a breach of the Narmada canal walls.”

“But what happened this year was not something anyone has seen in a 100 years,” said Deshlaji Thakor, the 75-year-old patriarch of the family that lost 15 members. https://scroll.in/article/845919/we-have-nothing-left-to-call-our-own-gujarat-flood-survivors-pick-up-the-pieces-as-waters-recede

Another report also mentions Narmada Canal: “Banas waters had washed away one side of the national highway. At a distance, minor Narmada-linked canals had swept like paper trash.” http://www.counterview.net/2017/08/banaskantha-floods-gujarats-rural-rich.html

Another report mentions role of Narmada Canal: “As per the Revenue Department records, as many as 25 villages of Banaskantha district were affected by flood in 2015 and now again in 2017.

Principal Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar had told The Indian Express that a breach in the main Narmada canal in Kankrej taluka complicated the flood situation in the district this time.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-cm-vijay-rupani-camps-for-5-days-in-flood-hit-banaskantha-4781294/

Rajasthan floods More details about Rajasthan villages in Barmer Jalore districts that faced floods around July 21: “Gudamalani, about 90km from the district headquarters, is nearer to Gujarat flood-hit areas. Sukari and Jawai rivers merge here into Luni that flows through Dhanera, Patan, and Banaskantha districts of Gujarat. The road from Gudamalani towards Jalore is submerged.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/rajasthan-floods-hundreds-of-families-displaced-relief-still-elusive/story-EYoDEQWM3ODGAqCb6sQOeM.html

Himachal Pradesh Extensive damage in flash floods around Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, including to houses, roads, bridges, trees during the night of Aug 9 2017. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/houses-razed-in-palampur-flash-floods/449672.html

David Petley writes about the fatal Himachal landslide that killed 46: http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2017/08/13/kotrupi-1/

MoWR on flood management in Parilament: This PIB PR from MoWR seems like a response to recent CAG report: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=169815,    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelcontent.aspx?relid=169809

HYDRO POWER

Assam AJYSP Hunger Strike against big dams The movement in Assam continues to be strong. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=aug0717/state057

Possible NGT nod for Lower Subansiri HEP not acceptable Important statements: ““The Lower Subansiri Hydro Electricity Project (LSHEP) was kept in abeyance by the previous Government due to strong protest by the local organisations as well as the local people. But after coming to power, the BJP-led governments in the State and at the Centre are making every possible move to complete the project as soon as possible, which reveal their hypocritical attitude towards the issue,” Palash Changmai, general secretary of the AJYCP, said.

“The recent move of both the Governments to approach the National Green Tribunal for a green signal to the project is another move that cannot be accepted by the people of Assam,” he added.” http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=aug0417/city050

Assam CM threatens rather than punishing NEEPCO This sounds so empty from Assam CM when the damage due to NEEPCO’s Ranganadi HEP is in front of everyone, including himself. “He also warned the North East Electrical Power Cooperation (NEEPCO) not to do anything that could harm the people living on the downstream of Ranganadi.” http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=aug1017/state057

Arunachal Pradesh SMRF asks why Tawang dams are not cancelled in spite of collective decisions http://www.arunachaltimes.in/smrf-threatens-to-take-up-hydro-power-issue-with-uno/

Manipur Demand grows for Loktak decommissioning IMP to reiterate: “The Manipur BJP leadership has requested the Union government that the 105 megawatts Loktak hydroelectric project be broken down or, to use the technical term, decommissioned. Following up on the political call from the party-in-power, the newly-elected state government has written twice to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to set up an expert panel and review the impacts of the dam.” https://scroll.in/article/846333/why-the-ruling-bjp-in-manipur-wants-loktak-hydroelectricity-project-broken-down, http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=14..130817.aug17, http://www.ifp.co.in/item/2788-review-loktak-project-demand-growing,

J & K EXCELLENT REPORT ABOUT J&K HYDRO: Iftikhar Drabu, an expert on hydropower projects, said that “the news item wants (referring to the story about speedy construction in Indian media) more to attract media attention, though one would need to be cautious since it looks like that central PSUs other than NHPC are seeking projects here in JK, to tide over their internal problems. Also, it might be to build pressure on Pakistan since these projects are all on Western Rivers where Pakistan has unrestricted rights under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).”
Sawalkote, according to him, is under development since early ’90s, first by NHPC and later by JKSPDC. He said the first DPR was prepared in 1992 and recently, a fresh DPR was approved at Rs 11 crores per MW.

“With a construction period of nearly a decade, and given the stress, it does not look there will be much movement on the project. The story is similar in Bursar, Kirthai, Kwar and Kiru,” he said.

“It is good to be positive, but we need to be realistic as well. After all, these are business propositions. There is already stress in the energy market, particularly for hydropower projects. Investment in these projects comes at a high price and given the current energy market scenario, I don’t see any commensurate returns. There is stagnation in the market of hydropower electricity,” Drabu said.

“About Bursar, the estimated tariff cost is very high and at that rate it is not a viable project. Even after accounting for the improved generation on downstream projects, once this project is commissioned, still the tariff would be much higher than what the market can afford. When, at Rs 4.5 per unit, the State Power Development Corporation is unable to find buyers for the past two years for Baglihar II, who will buy Bursar power, estimated to cost several times over that rate? JKSPDC is today forced to sell this power to JKPDD at Rs 2.5 per unit. The irony is that even at that rate, the JKPDD is defaulting on payments. This is increasing the interest burden on the project,” he added.

It also quotes SANDRP. http://kashmirreader.com/2017/08/04/hydropower-market-indias-8-dams-unlikely-built/

HCC gets Ganderbal contract HCC gets EPC contract of Rs 810 for building 93 MW New Ganderbal HEP on Sind river in J&K. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/hcc-wins-hydro-power-contract-worth-rs-810-crore-in-jammu-and-kashmir/60001437

Veiled attempt by Hydro lobby? Is this veiled attempt by hydro lobby to push the fledgling hydro industry? http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/hydro-powered-smelters-charge-premium-prices-for-green-aluminium/59892474

Throwing good money after bad Very good article by Shripad Dharmadhikary about attempt to push unviable Big Hydro with subsidies. Only his conclusion seems a bit weak: “If the idea is that this support would go to projects that would provide additional benefits to the grid like peaking power, then there must be strict criteria to identify and quantify such benefits, and only projects that meet these criteria, and which do not cause severe social and environmental impacts, must be supported.” If indeed, the objective is to get such benefits, than, as SANDRP has been saying for years, than FIRST the potential of such benefits from EXISTING HYDRO should be exhausted. Welcome article, all the same. http://indiatogether.org/throwing-good-money-after-bad-environment

DROUGHT 2017

Maharashtra Crops face moisture stress, drought threat looms large Severe to medium moisture stress in large parts of Western Marathawada and Vidrabha in Maharashtra, affecting at least 2 lakh ha of cropped land: “At present, districts of Parbhani, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, among others, are facing severe water crisis. Parbhani, by far, seems to be the worst hit ,with the district reporting 45 per cent rainfall deficiency. Barring the districts of Beed and Osmanadbad, all other districts of Marathwada have reported more than 30 per cent rainfall deficiency. Similarly, in Vidharbha, barring the districts of Buldhana, Washim and Wardha, all have serious moisture stress.” http://indianexpress.com/article/mumbai/crops-face-moisture-stress-drought-threat-looms-large-4786919/ 

Nagpur farmers asked to wait City needs Totladoh Dam water Paddy Farmers in NAGPUR district are worried as water has not been released from Totladoh dam even in first week of Aug, when normally it is released by July 15. The storage currently is at 113 MCM (11% of capacity), DM told the people that water cannot be released for irrigation till storage crosses 290 MCM (29%) and VIDC says for one round of irrigation, storage has to be 450 MCM. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/fields-may-parch-to-quench-citys-thirst/articleshow/59921749.cms

 Karnataka Drought kills 2.28 crore areca nut, coconut trees “Successive droughts and depletion of groundwater table in Karnataka has destroyed a whopping 2.28 crore arecanut and coconut trees… The major coconut and arecanut growing districts in the state are Tumakuru, Hassan, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkamagaluru, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Shivamogga and the coastal region.

Jayachandra said while 45 lakh coconut trees have been hit by disease around 1.83 crore arecanut trees have withered away because of lack of adequate water. The total area where arecanut has been affected is 0.51 lakh hectares.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/drought-kills-2-28-cr-areca-nut-coconut-trees-in-karnataka/articleshow/59960262.cms

Telangana Dry Nagarjunsagar Nagarjunsagar, even on Aug 7 was 9 feet below the dead storage level of 510 ft as per this report. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2017-08-07/With-no-water-to-replenish-Sagar-stares-at-DRY-future/317276

Telangana asks Karnataka for 15 TMC from Almatti Dam Karnataka’s Almatti and Narayanpur reservoirs are not only almost full, Karnataka has already utilised about 25 TMC water this monsoon, but released less than 1 TMC for the downstream river. So now Telangana has requested Karnataka to release 15 TMC water for drinking water needs of Hyderabad and Nalgonda as water level at Nagarjunsagar Dam has reached a level of 500.4 ft against its MDDL of 510 ft. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/telangana-urges-karnataka-to-release-15-tmc-water/article19453212.ece

Farmers agitate for Singur water “Demand for the release of water from the Singur balancing reservoir in Medak district to Nizamsagar Project (NSP) in Kamareddy district is gathering momentum with farmers agitating on the issue in view of the long dry spell and damage to standing paddy crop on the ayacut… As of now, in Singur ,17 tmcft of water is available and at least 8 tmcft must be released forthwith if government is sincere on the issue, said DCC president Taher Bin Hamdan.” http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/ryots-agitate-for-singur-water/article19448419.ece

DAMS

Telangana BJP to Telangana: Go for but local water bodies, Not Big dams Good to see BJP and other political groups are advising Telangana govt to go for local water projects rather than mega projects. Wish the state BJP leaders were also to give this advise to central BJP govt. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/aug/05/utilise-local-water-bodies-instead-of-constructing-huge-projects-muralidhar-rao-1638685.html

SRSP: A failed project to be resurrected with Kaleshwaram water These are staggering figures: Sriram Sagar Dam Project (SRSP) with capacity to store 112 TMC was built in 1964 at a location were the inflows were expected to be 208 TMC. The inflow now is 54 TMC…. to suggest that almost 75% of the expected inflows get trapped in new upstream reservoirs seems far fetched… and the storage capacity of the dam has also come down to 80 TMC due to siltation.

NOW, the Telangana govt is planning to pump water from Kaleshwaram project to SRSP through what they say three small lifts of 33 m each. “It is proposed to lift one TMC feet water for about 60 days through Flood Flow Canal (FFC) by providing three small lifts with 33 meters of head,” said Shailendra Kumar Joshi, special chief secretary of the irrigation department.

The TRS government has estimated Rs 1,067 crore expenditure to lift 1 TMC feet water per day and 40 acres to construct 3 lifts at different locations below Kaleswaram project.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/kcr-to-revive-sriram-sagar-with-water-from-kaleswaram-project/articleshow/59977491.cms

Karnataka Supreme Court asks if Kalasa Banduri project got EC Good to see the Supreme Court asking some questions about the Kalasa Banduri Project of Karnataka in Mahadayi Basin, which the Goa CM calls ECOLOGICAL BOMB. One only hopes that the SC does take some prompt and effective steps soon and sends right signal by stopping the work on the project. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/626340/sc-directs-centre-tell-ktaka.html

NARMADA Sardar Sarovar Dam “Modern Day Genocide” On Aug 7, 2017 NAPM PR called what is happening in submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam as Modern Genocide. However, in a hearing in Supreme  Court on Aug 8, 2017, shockingly, but somewhat expectedly, the apex court refused to stay the illegal closure of dam gates, leaving it to Indore Bench of High Court, which has also not stayed the illegal submergence or even hear matter in detail as well known senior lawyer told the Supreme Court. Medha Patkar and eleven others have been on indefinite fast, but Medha and four others were arrested, released and again arrested. Finally on Aug 12, the fast was broken after 17 days, with a resolve to continue the fight against illegal submergence.

New Internationalist reports on Narmada Agitation: https://newint.org/web-exclusive-2017/08/03-narmada-valley-dam-resistance

Yettinhole: Disastrous proposal of Water For Bangalore? STRANGELY, while Prof T V Ramchandran of IISc clearly opposes any attempt at bringing the Nethrawati or Linganmakki water to Bangalore, another professor (Prof T G Sitharam) from the same institute is doing feasibility report! THIS MUST BE PUBLICLY, CLEARLY AND REPEATEDLY OPPOSED BY ALL RIGHT THINKING PEOPLE OF BANGALORE, KARNATAKA AND ELSEWHERE. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/627028/fresh-move-bring-netravathi-water.html

SHOCKING and CONDEMNABLE report. This is MOST DISASTROUS proposal, not innovative as claimed: http://www.thebetterindia.com/111364/iisc-researcher-bengaluru-coastal-reservoir-end-to-drinking-water-woes/

Tehri Dam full when monsoon is hardly half way through Strangely, TEHRI dam is already almost full at 815 m when monsoon is hardly halfway through. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/thdc-issues-letter-to-4-districts-to-remain-alert-when-it-releases-surplus-water-downstream/articleshow/59943494.cms

Pancheshwar Dam: SANDRP’s open letter as to why the public hearings for Pancheshwar Dam should be cancelled. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/cancel-pancheshwar-dam-public-hearings-it-involves-too-many-violations-and-illegalities/

पंचेश्वर बांध : क्यों यह जनसुनवाई प्रभावित होने जा रहे लोगों को अपनी नहीं लगती https://satyagrah.scroll.in/article/108940/first-public-hearing-pancheswar-project-uttarakhand-questions

 Pancheshwar public hearing challenged in High Court One Hopes the High Court stays the public hearings considering the violations and situations of public hearing. http://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/nainital-pil-challenging-public-hearing-on-pancheshwar-dam-scheduled-for-hearing-in-high-court-1072576.html, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/hc-asks-state-counsel-to-get-info-on-pancheshwar-dam-hearing/articleshow/59991538.cms

Nepal Nepal Prime Minister to visit India later this August 2017 and Pancheshwar is likely to be on agenda, as per this report. https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2017/08/04/pancheswor-main-agenda-pm-deubas-india-visit/

Contracting process of 13 roads to begin in Kathmandu Relevant for Pancheshwar: “Similarly, Rs 20 billion ($200 million) of the LoC III has been allocated for two irrigation projects – 3rd phase of Mahakali Irrigation Project of Rs 16.5 billion and upgradation of Koshi Pump Canal Lift Irrigation Project of Rs 3.5 billion. Officials of the Ministry of Irrigation said that the process to review Detailed Project Report (DPR) of both the projects is currently underway in New Delhi. However, the officials fear that the Indian side put forth similar conditions while signing loan agreements for these projects.” http://www.myrepublica.com/news/25130/

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS Parliamentary Panel on ILR MISGUIDED recommendation on ILR: “When you push for something for which you have neither the science nor credible evidence, then you are making yourself open to charge that you are doing it either for ideological reasons or vested interests,” said Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, a network of organizations and individuals working on issues related to water sector. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/XibYds1UXxIVOTPRwRVNEJ/Panel-asks-govt-to-form-ministerial-group-to-examine-river-l.html

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

MoWR about Inter State Water Disputes: “Further, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation adopted a revised National Water Policy (NWP) in 2012. As per Clause 12.2 of the Policy, a permanent Water Disputes Tribunal at the Centre should be established to resolve the disputes expeditiously in an equitable manner. In this regard, a Bill has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 14.03.2017 to amend the existing ISRWD Act, 1956. The Bill has further been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources by the Hon’ble Speaker vide order dated 14.03.2017 for examination. In this regard, three meetings of the Committee have been held on 16.06.2017, 30.06.2017 and 10.07.2017.”

AND: “State of Odisha has also filed complaint dated November 19, 2017 under Section 3 of ISRWD Act, 1956 with respect to Mahanadi basin. The Central Government constituted a Negotiation Committee comprising members from basin States and concerned Ministries of Central Government, Central Water Commission, India Metrological Department, National Institute of Hydrology for settlement of the dispute through negotiation. The Negotiation Committee held two meetings on February 28, 2017 and May 22, 2017 and submitted its report in which it mentioned that any further meetings of this Committee would not be fruitful as there had been no participation from complainant State i.e. State of Odisha in both the meetings. Accordingly, the Ministry concluded that the dispute cannot be resolved by negotiation and it has been decided to constitute a Tribunal for adjudication of the dispute. Draft Cabinet Note in this regard has been prepared.” http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=169540

Construction of Barrages on Mahanadi Rirver: In Parliament http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=148366

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Goa CM misguiding the people? So Goa accepts nationalisation of rivers and claims that the state will continue to have rights over rivers ONLY because of MOU with IWAI. This seems misleading and preposterous.

Good to see interesting discussion though: Participating in the discussion, Congress MLA Luizinho Faleiro stated that “The Act of Parliament is a monstrous. It just cannot be accepted”. The MLA said that if the sole objective of nationalisation is to develop the inland waterways then it should be done by protecting the ecology, flora and fauna. But you can do that only if you are doing credible impact assessment and public consultation process.

NCP MLA Churchill Alemao brought to the notice of the House that in Calcutta, the State Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has objected to nationalisation of rivers and declined to hand over the rivers. “Rivers are gift of God and it is our duty to protect it,” he stated.

The Chief Minister informed the House that National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has been asked to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment study (EIA) of the project, after which the MoU will be signed. He assured that the MoU draft would be presented to all MLAs for their views, before signing. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Fishing-communities%E2%80%99-rights-to-be-protected-after-river-nationalisation-CM/118236.html

RIVERS

Brahmaputra Questions about the LONG bridge Many critical points here about the Brahmaputra Bridge recently commissioned: “Dr Kar also said, “The longest bridge of the nation constructed in this region after 70 years of Independence is not a showpiece of technological marvel if we compare it with the bridges constructed in China. Significantly, out of the total 27 longest bridges in the world, the first seven bridges are in China itself. The longest one is 164.8-km long and all the bridges on the river portion are steel extension type. The concrete pillars of Dr Bhupen Hazarika Setu have, in fact, narrowed down the width of the river and together with huge amount of water released from the big dams of hydro power projects of Arunachal Pradesh, it will give rise to flash floods in the downstream of Assam.”” He also mentions Dams, dredging, silt accumulation and risks of hydropower projects in the Brahmaputra basin. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=aug0417/state050

Maharashtra Why are dogs turning blue in this Mumbai suburb? Navi Mumbai allows industries to pollute Kasadi river. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/industrial-waste-in-navi-mumbai-s-kasadi-river-is-turning-dogs-blue/story-FcG0fUpioHGWUY1zv98HuN.html

GANGA Centre Ganga Siltation under Centre Radar With people like AB Pandya (a complete dam fundamentalist), there is very little hope from this exercise. One wonders if Nitish Kumar will see through such committee and will ensure a credible committee of independent people? http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/ganga-siltation-on-centres-radar/articleshow/59966721.cms

MoWR in Parliament about Ganga notification of Oct 2016 “Government of India has notified constitution of Authorities at National, State and District levels vide notification at 7th October, 2016 to take measures for prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in River Ganga and to ensure continuous adequate flow of water so as to rejuvenate the River Ganga. As per the above Authority Order, no person shall construct any structure for residential or commercial or industrial or any other purposes in the River Ganga, banks of River Ganga or its tributaries or active flood plain area of River Ganga or its tributaries. The Authority order also provides for removal of such construction if such construction causes interruption in the continuous flow of water or pollution in River Ganga or its tributaries. In addition, Union Government had circulated Model Flood Plain Zoning Bill in 1975 to all States but only Manipur, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand had enacted the legislation.

This information was given by Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.”

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=169817

Cauvery Even as TN faces drought, farmers are opposing ONGC for polluting their water sources in the Cauvery Delta. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/MbvHoqIMh45Kxc05pbM1nK/Why-is-Tamil-Nadus-Cauvery-Delta-fighting-against-ONGC.html

FISHERIES

Well come Initiative: National Inland Fisheries Policy consultation  http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/consultation-on-national-policy-on-fisheries-held-in-manipur/

No Water for river from Tungabhadra dam No water is being released from Tungabhadra dam, since the dam is not yet full, threatening the downstream river, biodiversity, communities and environment. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/poor-monsoon-hits-aquatic-life-in-the-tungabhadra/article19404831.ece

 

WETLANDS Kanwar Lake in Bihar WOW: “The Kanwar Lake is a large floodplain wetland between the Gandak and the Kosi rivers in north Bihar. Spanning 67 sq. km, the wetlands offer many ecosystem services like recharging groundwater and buffering incoming floods. While the wetland is a designated bird sanctuary hosting several migratory water birds in the winters, it also sustains the livelihoods of thousands of farmers as well as fisher households. Despite its high socioeconomic and ecological significance, it has received little attention in the regional and local development planning.” http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/some-floods-can-be-good-news

Mumbai wetlands among unique mangrove forests of India “The Mangrove Society of India (MSI) has put two of Mumbai region’s mangroves — Airoli and Vikhroli wetlands — among 12 unique mangrove forests in the country.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/two-mangroves-from-mumbai-region-on-list-the-12-unique-wetlands-in-india/story-EiVR3zcmlQBL2y19wYLMiJ.html

Thane Court directed Wetlands committee appointed in Navi Mumbai “Members of the newly formed Wetland Grievance Redressal Committee recently met in the city. It was decided to deal with complaints linked to wetlands destruction within 48 hours. The committee was formed based on the directive of the Thane district collectorate dated April 17, 2017, and is headed by a Naib Tehsildar rank official for the protection of wetlands in Navi Mumbai and Konkan regions. In the absence of any dedicated helpline number, the citizens can email or text their grievances to the Konkan divisional commissionerate and the Thane district collectorate, from where it will be forwarded to the wetlands committee members.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/new-wetlands-committee-to-address-complaints-in-48-hours/articleshow/59945369.cms

GROUND WATER Preservation  of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in USA WOW: story of how US has preserved Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE: A concept we still need to understand and learn), but that is now under threat due to surrounding areas: “This concern is especially relevant in groundwater-dependent ecosystems (called GDEs) such as the Pinelands, where water withdrawals can quickly alter the hydrology, and leave plants and tree roots high and dry. These valuable ecosystems, writes Melissa Rohde, a groundwater scientist with California’s Nature Conservancy, support biodiversity, provide base flows in rivers, water purification, pollinator habitat, flood control, and water supply. And yet, she writes, “Globally, GDEs are increasingly threatened as human exploitation often exceeds natural recharge rates, particularly in Asia and North America.”

!!: “While there are few places that legislate consideration of GDEs in water management plans, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act required that local 5-year groundwater sustainability plans must identify and consider impacts to GDEs. Australia, says Rohde, has the most advanced policies with regard to protecting GDEs, driven by increasing demand from economic development and growing water stress from climate change. Groundwater provides some 30 percent of Australia’s water needs, and as much as 60 percent in the country’s drought-prone southwest.” http://e360.yale.edu/features/in-a-rare-u-s-preserve-water-pressures-mount-as-development-closes-in

Go beyond groundwater “This article focuses on identifying the appropriate goal of groundwater regulation. We do not, however, deal with how this goal is to be achieved, including considerations of law, enforcement, pricing and fi ne-tuning by aquifer types (as in Kulkarni et al 2015). We begin by explaining the functioning of the hydrological cycle, the close relationship between groundwater and surface water, and consequently, the inappropriateness of conventional notions of sustainable groundwater use. We then present empirical evidence in support of this theoretical argument in the Indian context. We show why the conventional approach to groundwater policy and regulation in India is fundamentally flawed. We end by making a case for integrated management of ground and surface water resources in India. Finally, we present an alternative integrated approach that correctly accounts for biophysical linkages and spells out its implications.” http://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2017_52/31/SA_LII_31_050817_Veena_Srinivasan.pdf

Hyderabad construction company fined Rs 8 lakhs Interesting that the fine is slapped only for damage to road, and not for the criminal wastage of groundwater… only goes to show how much we value groundwater. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/ghmc-slaps-rs-8-lakh-fine-on-builder/article19448396.ece

MoWR on Groundwater Preservation: MOWR lists steps taken to preserve Groundwater: http://mowr.gov.in/writereaddata/GW_Depletion.pdf

WATER SECTOR

Maharashtra New Depths of governance? So now multinational groups (WRG 2030) will be commissioned by the Maharashtra state govt to launch multi stake holder decision making platform to decide about water allocations. So the govt has no faith in anyone in India, and is now commissioning these consultancies, which have no clue about the complex ground realities, to take decisions as to who is to be involved and how and so on? Is this is further depth of bankruptcy of our governments? http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/maha-launches-joint-platform-to-address-water-resources-crunch-117080701326_1.html

“Maharashtra is set to get funding worth $1 billion by adopting a multi-stakeholder partnership approach to address critical water resources challenges. Of the $1 billion, $480 million will come from World Bank as loan, $270 million worth grant from the Green Climate Fund, $200 million worth grant from the Maharashtra government, and $200 million from the farmers, corporate foundations and financial markets… The funding is being organised under the banner of Maharashtra Water Resources Multi Stakeholder Platform — jointly formed by the state government and 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG).”

This seems like a huge potential scam: “IS Chahal, state principal secretary of water resources said ” The government’s goal is to ensure that at least 1.2 of the 1.5 million hectare under sugarcane cultivation in the state uses drip irrigation technology by 2019. This saves up to 40% of the water while increasing productivity. However, so far, only 2.5 lakh hectare are covered and if we are to meet our goals we have to involve all relevant stakeholders including farmers, sugar mills, banks and government departments.” He opined the initiative is crucial when Maharashtra’s sugarcane cultivation covers less than 4% of the total cropped area but uses 70% of total water for irrigation in command areas.”

http://www.dnaindia.com/node/2523631

URBAN WATER OPTIONS Lessons in reusing Wastewater Vishwanath: “Wastewater is no longer a resource below the radar. As water shortage kicks in, as groundwater tables fall, as drought has more and more of an impact the city cannot stand in splendid isolation from its rural hinterland. The response of Bengaluru has been interesting to the shortage felt in nearby areas. Sweepingly large investments are being made, to pick up secondary treated wastewater and fill up tanks in the districts of Kolar, Bengaluru (Rural), Chikkaballapura and even Ramanagara. Over 770 million litres of treated waste-water will eventually be moved out of the city to be used for agriculture purpose and to fill groundwaters in the surrounding dry districts. Investments envisaged are well over Rs. 2000 crore in capital cost alone. If implemented well, it will have enormous consequence for the city. The city will itself have less wastewater for itself but importantly the farmers will have access to nutrient-rich waters for irrigation. Investing in science and knowledge to track these projects for health and environmental externalities, apart from the economic one, would be a great learning lesson and water wisdom.” http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/lessons-in-reusing-wastewater/article19427874.ece

 

AGRICULTURE

POWER SECTOR India’s Power Paradox This report provides some useful insights into India’s power sector. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/iISgsc5lJQyL2pswHAezCN/Indias-power-paradox.html

Falling PLFs of TPS Capacity Utilisation or plant load factors of thermal power projects already low, is expected to fall further. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/5vduPwYwJAKM4LPk458n0K/Falling-capacity-utilization-forces-Indias-coal-fuelled-pro.html

July spot electricity price Rs 2.49 per unit Average Electricity clearing price at IEX in July 2017 was Rs 2.49 per unit, down from Rs 2.59 the previous month. The Price during evening peak hours was Rs 4.03 while in base load hours it was Rs 2.18 per unit. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/spot-power-price-falls-to-rs-2-49-per-unit-in-july/59903436

ENVIRONMENT Centre issues guidelines for forest land diversion We have to wait and see how this gets implemented. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/flora-fauna/centre-issues-guidelines-for-diverting-forest-land/articleshow/59962804.cms

Govt plans to amend EPA to protect the violators Key Message: “There will be no more environmental violations. This sounds like a radical declaration to improve the state of the environment, but the environment ministry has shown us that it could mean quite the opposite. The ministry has launched a two-pronged plan to substantially alter the kinds of action against violators of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), and its various notifications and rules related to impacts assessment, coastal regulation or waste.” https://thewire.in/163781/environment-protection-act-amendments-regulation-violators/, More details and links to RTI documents: http://cprindia.org/news/6373

ENERGY OPTIONS

Record Solar Capacity Addition in H1 2017 Solar Power installed capacity continues to grow with highest ever installed capacity addition so far in first half of 2017. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/india-adds-48-gw-of-solar-capacity-in-h1/article9808471.ece

MP takes away MUST RUN status from Renewables A Set back to renewable sources of Electricity in Madhya Pradesh?

“In the latest order by the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC), it has asked the “the generation from co-generation and renewable sources of energy to be subject to ‘scheduling’ and ‘merit order dispatch principles’ as decided by the commission from time to time.”

The order pertains to the amendment in the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (Cogeneration and Generation of Electricity from Renewable Sources of Energy) (Revision-I) Regulations, 2010. It would hold a public hearing to discuss the matter on August 18.” http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/in-a-first-madhya-pradesh-takes-away-must-run-status-of-renewable-projects-117080200409_1.html

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal Demand to scrap U Karnali and Arun 3 Nepali groups demand scrapping of Upper Karnali project of GMR and Arun 3 project of SJVNL, among others. https://www.spotlightnepal.com/articles/demand-scrap-upper-karnali-and-arun-iii-projects/

Nepal proposals to AIIB: Of the two energy projects proposed, the first one is the Sharada-Babai Hydropower Project with an installed capacity of 93MW and total annual generation of 253.7GWh. This would require an investment of Rs20 billion. The second energy project is Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, capable of producing 87MW of electricity and requiring an investment of Rs18 billion from AIIB. AIIB also plans to invest Rs10 billion in the Nepal Distribution System Upgrading and Extension Project. http://bit.ly/2u67OEh

Bhutan Punatsangchu II faces damage as diversion tunnel too small Another photo/ video blog that shows how ineffective is the diversion tunnel of the under construction Punatsanghchu II HEP in Bhutan, leading to all the water flowing over the unfinished dam, possibly creating huge damage there. http://kbwakhley.blogspot.in/2017/08/punatshangchhu-ii-hydropower-project.html

As per this report, Punatshagchhu II project is again in trouble on Aug 9 early hours, for the second time, in this monsoon season, with overflowing coffer dam (due to inadequate capacity of the diversion tunnel as per this report) flooding the project. http://kbwakhley.blogspot.in/2017/08/punatshangchhu-ii-hydropower-p2-in.html

Bhutan not worried about power surplus and tariff falls in India BHUTAN MINISTER “said that the agreement mandates India to buy surplus power from Bhutan and cost plus model ensures a return on equity, which means the projects assure return on investment along with certain profit.” http://www.kuenselonline.com/govt-not-worried-about-power-surplus-and-tariff-falls-in-india/

Pakistan

IWT India Pak secretary level talks at World Bank According to this World Bank statement of Aug 1, 2017, India and Pakistan to reconvene in Washington for further discussions on differences/ disputes related to Kishenganga and Ratle projects. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/08/01/world-bank-statement-on-the-indus-waters-treaty-meetings

Next day, on Aug 2 following erroneous reporting, the World Bank came out with this clarification statement, saying the talks are still ongoing.  http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/08/02/clarification-world-bank-statement-on-the-indus-waters-treaty-meetings

CHINA

China block information on Sutlej flow to India. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/china-blocks-info-on-river-water-inflow-raises-hackles/story-t3TejFMLCISSeSwUnX3nKP.html

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Oroville Dam Crisis Millions of dollars of compensation claims have been filed following the Oroville Dam Crisis in California in Feb 2017. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article165448747.html

Panel cleared Oroville spillway in 2014 This study in 2014 did look at the scenario of spillways failing, the way they eventually did in Feb 2017 and rejected them as unlikely: “The study — called a potential failure mode analysis, or PFMA — was performed in 2014 as part of what’s called a Part 12D safety review, a title that refers to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation that requires independent safety inspections for most large dams every five years.” In India no such requirement exists, and whatever study happens, is not even in public domain. https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/08/09/oroville-dam-spillway-ferc-safety-review-2014-ruled-out-spillway-failure/

CLIMATE CHANGE

VERY IMPORTANT LESSONS IN CLIMATE COMMUNICATION

– So, by all means, let’s talk about how urgent action is, and imagine the worst results of not acting, but let’s be sure to tell stories that lower the barrier to taking action, too, individually and collectively.

– This tells me that people respond well to two things: stories about what they can do, and how they can be part of a broader effective change. And those two things need to be connected.

– the three stories that were most popular, those that got the most views and generated the most engagement (thumbs-up and commenting), shared some important characteristics:
* The stories connected individual actions to collective actions.
* They showed agency – people taking action.
* They modeled a positive spillover effect.

– Frames, narratives and values matter. People easily incorporate new facts into their existing frames (the ways they see the world), narratives (the stories they tell about themselves and the world) and values (their beliefs about right and wrong and what matters to them). Or they can simply ignore facts that don’t fit.

– Know thy audience. There are “six Americas” spread across the spectrum from alarmed to dismissive when it comes to climate change. Trying to change the minds of the dismissive is a waste of time. But the rest are potentially movable, from the concerned, to the cautious, disengaged and even doubtful. Seventy-four percent of Americans are in those middle four categories. And, yes, I include the doubtful among potentially movable audiences. Isn’t science supposed to be about doubt?

– Messengers matter. Doctors and scientists are trusted more than journalists and politicians. Religious leaders are trusted by their flocks. People trust people who share their frames, narratives and values. But it’s a fact of life communicators need to understand.

THERE IS SO MUCH MORE HERE. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/climate-gloom-and-doom-we-need-stories-about-taking-action-too-117080900392_1.html

Report Surging glaciers in Shimshal River in Indus basin in Karakoram This NASA update explains a new kind of phenomena unique to this SHIMSHAL River in INDUS basin in Karakoram mountains in Northern Pakistan: “In the Karakoram Mountains of northern Pakistan, the remote Shimshal Valley has the same concern, but for a somewhat different reason. Several of the glaciers that flow into this valley surge, meaning they cycle through periods when they flow forward several times faster than usual. Since the valley is narrow and has a river running through it, surging glaciers regularly dam the river and create flood hazards. The floods occur when water pooling up behind the tongue of the advancing glacier suddenly breaks through the natural ice dam and cascades down the gorge.

As seen in this Landsat 8 image, several glaciers flow into the Shimshal Valley perpendicular to the flow of the river, and they have little room to move before they intersect with the water. In recent decades, the four glaciers most prone to blocking the river have been the Khurdopin, Yukshin Gardan, Yazghil, and Malungutti. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image on May 13, 2017.” There have already been several floods in this valley starting late July this year and extending to August 2017, leading to destruction of a bridge, several roads, among other damages.

“Historical records show that surging glaciers have triggered at least 20 of these glacial lake outburst floods over the past century—making the valley one of the most vulnerable in the Karakoram. Past floods have caused damage with such frequency that villagers in the river towns of Pasu and Shimshal even established a beacon warning system. In the spring, more than 30 outposts were set up on visible hillsides along a 90-kilometer (60-mile) span of the gorge. When a flood occurred during the night, the outposts lit a series of bonfires to warn people downstream. During the day, they used the sound of gunfire to pass the message. The system has been replaced with cell phones, but the service is spotty enough in this valley that floods still sometimes take people by surprise. Surging glaciers are not the only cause of flood hazards in this area. In the nearby Hunza River Valley in 2010, a massive landslide blocked the river and created a large lake. Though the lake now flows over the dam, the possibility that this natural dam could eventually breach elevates flood risks for towns and villages downstream of it.” https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=90672&src=nha

CC to bring extremely dangerous heat to South Asia RELEVANT AND WORRYING: In the “Vulnerability” section of the paper, authors note – “The geographical locations of the most extreme projected heat waves in the Indus and Ganges river valleys coincide largely with locations of highly vulnerable human populations in terms of population density, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and agricultural intensity”.

THESE VICTIMS HAVE PRACTICALLY MADE NO CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROBLEM. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/08/02/unchecked-climate-change-could-bring-extremely-dangerous-heat-to-south-asia-scientists-warn/?utm_term=.dc7285552135

Compiled by SANDRP

You may also like to see, DRP News Bulletin 7 Aug 2017 &

 DRP News Bulletin 31 July 2017

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