DRP News Bulletin 21 August 2017 (Unscientific Obsession With Dredging)

It seems the Chief Ministers of all the flood affected states are obsessed about dredging the rivers and reservoirs and are advocating massive scale dredging as a solution to flooding. This is partly triggered by the Rivers-as-waterways advocacy by Union Surface Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari and partly by the need for showing to the people that they are doing something new to tackle floods, it seems. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar contributed to it in a way last year when he mentioned the accumulation of millions of tons of silt along Ganga due to the backwater impact of Farakka Dam. This year, the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal[i] has been talking about dredging Brahmaputra as a solution to floods in Assam.

Earlier W Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee[ii] advocated dredging Damodar river and dams to avoid flooding in her state. All this advocacy seems to be completely misleading, unscientific and baseless. How much dredged material are we talking about removal from rivers? Where will you take that material to? Have you assessed economic viability, environmental impacts or social acceptability of this proposal? Is there even an impact assessment or public consultation process? It is completely ill informed and non studied advocacy and earlier it is abandoned, better it will be for dealing with the floods in a real way.

[i] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/assam-floods-death-toll-rises-to-150-northeast-rail-link-cut-off-for-seventh-day/

[ii] http://www.firstpost.com/india/mamata-banerjee-says-west-bengal-floods-a-man-made-crisis-blames-jharkhand-govt-damodar-valley-corporation-3865787.html

Really, there is this strange, unscientific obsession with dredging the rivers, this one on massive Brahmaputra river. How will it help? Where will the dredged material go? How much material will be taken out? What will be the cost? What will be the impact? No answers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/assam-floods-death-toll-rises-to-150-northeast-rail-link-cut-off-for-seventh-day/

FLOODS 2017

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Screen shots of CWC flood forecasting sites as on Aug 11 2017

SANDRP Blog Ganga basin faces unprecedented floods in August 2017 Ganga Basin, particularly Bihar is facing unprecedented floods, starting on Aug 12, 2017. Water levels of Major tributaries of Ganga, including Kosi, Mahananda, Rapti, Bagmati, Gandak and Kamlabalan are close to or above the historically highest flood levels almost simultaneously. This has rarely happened in the past. PLZ SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK AND THIS POST AND HELP US SPREAD THE MESSAGE.

The blog has also been published on Scroll https://scroll.in/article/847221/alarm-bells-for-an-unprecedented-wave-of-floods-in-east-and-north-east-india-rang-on-august-11

Brahmputra Flood In the face of unprecedented floods The Joint Research Centre (JRC), a science hub of the European Union has been specific that the floods in the Brahmaputra basin may be the worst in 200 years. According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), by August 19 starting from August 10, there is the possibility of more than 200mm of rainfall in the southern region of the Himalayas. This will raise the water level in the Brahmaputra to the ultimate danger level. http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2017/08/17/80043/In-the-face-of-unprecedented-floods

Gujurat Flood Some very useful information and insights As per report, by July 21, the state had received almost half (45.90 per cent) of the entire season’s average rainfall, and in the next seven days the state received a quarter of the season’s rainfall (26.57 per cent).

Between July 24 and 25, Banaskantha recorded a whopping 257 mm of rainfall, nearly 40 per cent of the entire monsoon rainfall in nearly 24 hours. Sabarkantha too faced flood-like situation. The district recorded 180 mm, nearly a quarter of season’s rain in one day. The same night, neighbouring Patan and Gandhinagar districts also recorded rainfall of over 100 mm.

The flood situation compounded further with a major breach in the Narmada canal near Kankrej in Banaskantha. The canal supplies Narmamda water to Rajasthan. According to officials, the death toll would have been far less if the canal had not breached. The breach occurred near Thara village in Banaskantha. Pictures of the aerial survey show that the canal has been breached at several places within a one km area. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-floods-the-deluge-4775591/

As per report, Dhanera village was flooded because the Jetpura dam broke down. A river named Rail which mostly remains dry overflowed against everyone’s expectations. Two other rivers of the area that overflowed, Rail, Vasanni and Siyano Vakro, affected Thavar, Runi, Rampura, Sonawada, Malega, Dhaka, Aeta, Pegiya, Nani Duglol, Bhatib, Shergad Gora, Jariya villages of Banaskantha.  This report also suggests corruption in relief distribution in Banaskantha district as villagers are reporting of officials making them sign on a blank form. https://thewire.in/168121/gujarat-flood-hit-areas-compensation-victims/

Latest Nasa rainfall map of August 2017 shows that a wave is going towards Gujarat.

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27 hours after we posted NASA map showing possibility of Heavy rainfall in Gujarat, the latest NASA map shows heavy to very heavy rainfall in South Gujarat, North Maharashtra, Mumbai and Konkan region, in addition to North Gujarat and parts of Saurashtra and Kutch.

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Bihar Floods Toll over 150 lives, nearly 1 Cr affected More details of the contours of flood disaster in Bihar and East UP now emerging. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/over-150-dead-in-bihar-floods-at-least-a-crore-people-affected-in-state-1739396?pfrom=home-topstories

Indeed, as SANDRP has pointed out in advance, there was sufficient warning of the floods. The worst is yet to come. The level at the flood forecasting sites has already crossed the highest levels recorded in 1968 and 1987. At Dhengraghat, the level is 11 cms above the Highest Flood Level (HFL) and at Jhawa, 53 cms. The rate at which the water level rose is unprecedented. It was never this fast. There was sufficient warning, yet nothing was done. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/despite-advance-warning-floods-again-catch-bihar-unaware  

As per latest report, Bihar flood situation continues to remain grim with 253 dead, over 4 lakh in relief camps and floods continuing to create havoc. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bihar-floods-253-dead-1-crore-affected-as-bihars-flood-crisis-worsens-10-points-1739794?pfrom=home-lateststories

Nepal has also suffered in recent Ganga basin floods and rightly or wrongly, there is resentment in Nepal about role of Indian embankments in the downstream in contributing to floods in Nepal. The parliament of Nepal has asked Deuba to tell India that its unilateral construction of about 15 embankments — some of them less than 12 km away from the border — has caused the devastation. The House sentiment is that India must be held accountable for the destruction. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/next-door-nepal-pm-sher-bahadur-deuba-india-visit-diplomacy-test-pancheshwar-hydropower-project-doklam-standoff-china-4805846/

In a development what could be an invitation to major disaster Uma Bharti emphasized that long-term solution to mitigate flood and droughts lies in the interlinking of rivers along with building of large storages. The Minister said Govt of India is having continuous dialogue with the Govt of Nepal at various levels to mitigate devastation caused by the flood from the rivers coming from Nepal through planning of various storage dams jointly viz. Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on river Sarada; Sapta Kosi High dam Project and Sun Kosi Storage-cum- Diversion scheme are proposed in the Sapta Kosi Basin. In Brahmaputra Basin, a Committee of the Ministry has assessed storage requirements of 9.2 BCM in Siang, 0.6 BCM in Dibang, 1.61 BCM in Lohit and 1.91 BCM in Subansiri sub Basins. A proposal for construction of single-stage Siang Upper Multipurpose Storage is under active consideration of the Ministry.

FACTUALLY INCORRECT: KEN BETWA IS TO FACILITATE WATER EXPORT FROM BUNDELKHAND: The Govt of India is eager to implement this first river interlinking project for the benefit of the people of Bundhelkhand region.

This could be USEFUL if done in a credible way: She directed that CWC, GFCC and Brahmaputra Board, in consultation with the related Central Ministries and State Governments, shall undertake an exercise to identify and map reaches vulnerable to erosion and landslide along the banks of the rivers and suggest possible remedial measures.

Have not seen this as yet: Another significant step taken by the Ministry, since June 2017 is that three day advance flood advisories based on rainfall-runoff model have been made available for all the 19 river basins online, for the benefit of all stakeholders. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170101

Uttarakhand  Cloud bursts, landslides kill 17 in Pithoragarh Early on August 14, 2017 there was a cloudburst in Dungdung, followed by another in Malpa, at a height of 7,000 feet on the Kailash Mansarovar route. This triggered flash floods in the Malpa canal and Nangaad and Thulgaad and the Simkhola river came in to spate, washing way three hotels, an army transit camp, many persons, vehicles and mules. http://www.firstpost.com/india/rescue-operations-continue-in-uttarakhand-three-days-after-flash-flood-hits-state-3935791.html 

Rajasthan There is a news report providing some information about Rajasthan floods situation as on Aug 1, 2017. https://sphereindiablog.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/rajasthan_barmer-flood-report-2017.pdf

HYDRO POWER

National Concerns remain over delayed hydro projects despite bailout package There had been decline in interest from investors in hydro projects given environmental hurdles. SANDRP wrote earlier, even the Bailout package for Hydro projects is not going to help push these projects. Central Electricity Authority (CEA) now publicly agrees with this assessment. As per CEAofficial, uncertainty remains about success even with the proposed bailout package due to various factors. So, CEA is currently targeting at projects which are in advanced stage say 70-80 per cent complete. RP Sanjiv Goenka group chairman Sanjiv Goenka had recently said they will not pursue new hydro projects and will review their existing hydro projects highlighting numerous hurdles. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/concerns-remain-over-delayed-hydro-projects-despite-bailout-package-117082000141_1.html

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Karnataka Issue of political appointees to State Wildlife Board resurfaces Hydel project proponent’s name included after recommendation from CM’s office. This is the power of hydro lobby. As per report Syama Raju, managing director of Maruthi Powergen India Pvt. Ltd., about whose hydro projects, “members of the Karnataka State Wildlife Board produced a 300-page report on the violations and damage to wildlife and forests caused by two mini-hydel power plants in the forests of Sakleshpur in Hassan district. There was a furore. A number of cases were filed, there were expert visits, and forest officials faced disciplinary action for approving the project. NOW this gentleman has been chosen to sit in the newly reconstituted board, having been chosen in the category that encompasses “conservation experts, wildlife biologists, and environmentalists. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/issue-of-political-appointees-to-karnataka-state-wildlife-board-resurfaces/article19527169.ece

DAMS

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SANDRP Blog पंचेश्वर बॉध की अनुचित, अन्यायपूर्ण एवं गैरकानूनी पर्यावरण जनसुनवाई रद्द हो  तथ्यों से यह स्पष्ट है कि चंपावत 9 अगस्त, पिथौरागढ़ 11 अगस्त, एवं अल्मोड़ा 17 अगस्त में पंचेश्वर बॉध से संबधित पर्यावरण जनसुनवाई, पर्यावरण प्रभाव आकलन EIA राजपत्र 14 सितंबर 2006 का खुलेआम उल्लंखन है। ऐसे में उपरोक्त सभी एवं अन्य आवश्यक संबंधित मुद्दों के निराकरण तक इस जनसुनवाई को निरस्त कर देना ही सर्वोचित है। अन्यथा यह पर्यावरण जनसुनवाई कानूनी वैधता प्राप्त नहीं कर पाएगी। https://goo.gl/hDbiP5

Also see, MATU press release पंचेश्वर बांध की जनसुनवाईयां छल-बल व राजनैतिक दवाब में पूरी की गई प्रभावित जनता के साथ धोखा रही!  http://matuganga.blogspot.in/

As per the another news report the political parties that were together when the agreement was signed do not see eye to eye on many issues now. It may not be easy to get them agree on the DPR. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/next-door-nepal-pm-sher-bahadur-deuba-india-visit-diplomacy-test-pancheshwar-hydropower-project-doklam-standoff-china-4805846/

Despite this Govt of India is having continuous dialogue with the Government of Nepal at various levels to mitigate devastation caused by the flood from the rivers coming from Nepal through planning of various storage dams jointly viz. Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on river Sarada; Sapta Kosi High dam Project and Sun Kosi Storage-cum- Diversion scheme are proposed in the Sapta Kosi Basin. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170101  

Jharkhand North Koel dam approved without concern for tribals The Union Cabinet has on August 16, 2017 gave its approval to complete the remaining work on the North Koel reservoir project. The estimated cost of completing the project is Rs 1,622.27 crore which would be spent in three financial years from the start of the work. The Cabinet also approved the storage of water in the dam restricted at a lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.

The North Koel reservoir project is situated on North Koel river, a tributary of Sone river that finally merges into the Ganga. The North Koel reservoir is located in the tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand. The construction was originally started in 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar govt.

There is no word about how many people will be affected and what will happen to them. http://www.india.com/news/agencies/cabinet-nod-to-complete-north-koel-reservoir-project-2405979/

As per another report with misleading heading, the Union cabinet has dragged out a 1970 reservoir project from cold storage to irrigate four districts in Jharkhand and Bihar after truncating its design and dimensions. Approved on Aug 16, the North Koel Reservoir project, with the Mandal dam in Jharkhand’s Latehar district as the centrepiece, is likely to water 111,500 hectares in Palamau and Garhwa (Jharkhand) and Gaya and Aurangabad (Bihar).

Originally, the dam was proposed to be 67.80 metres high, 408.50 metres long, with a full reservoir level of 367.28 metre and gross storage capacity of 1,170 million cubic metre. With a proposed 24MW hydel power plant, some 6,371 hectares were feared to go underwater, including a sizeable part of Palamau Tiger Reserve, a habitat for rare fauna and flora. Following massive protests from environmentalists, wildlife activists and villagers through decades, the reservoir level has now been brought down to 341 metres and the proposed hydel power plant scrapped. It will still submerge 1000 ha of Palamu Tiger Reserve and eight villages.

The total submergence area is now 1,730.97 hectares. The bulk of submergence has already occurred as the Mandal dam in Latehar and Mohammedganj barrage in Palamau are nearly ready. Approved by the Centre in 1970 at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore, the project cost has been revised five times since then, with the latest estimate being Rs 2,391. 37 crore of which Rs 769.09 crore has already been spent. The Centre has now approved Rs 1,622.27 crore, of which it will pay Rs 1,013.11 crore. Jharkhand will pay Rs 31.23 crore and Bihar Rs 212.43 crore.

Officially, land displaced got their compensation dues in the early 1980s but continue to live onsite. https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170818/jsp/frontpage/story_167839.jsp

Report Seven decades of water woes While large projects offered more bang for India’s buck at the time of independence, the idea hasn’t evolved over time affecting the sustainability of natural resources. This article by CHICU LOKAGARIWAR starts in very interesting way. It’s critical of the Big dam agenda of the govt post independence and even now, but would have liked a sharper critique. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/seven-decades-water-woes

Rajasthan Preparation for Parwan Dam PM to inaugurate ground breaking ceremony for the Parwan Dam in Rajasthan in Oct 2017. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-how-nitin-gadkari-put-modi-visit-to-rajasthan-on-fast-track-2533632

NBA BJP leaders resign in protest after arrest of Medha Patkar This is too little too late and that too crocodile tears? When India celebrated Independence, Medha Patkar and others were in Jail. Baba Amte used to say that place of the right thinking people in autocracy is in jail. What credibility is the BJP leaders now resigning when they did not all these days? http://www.firstpost.com/india/narmada-bachao-andolan-madhya-pradesh-bjp-leaders-resign-in-protest-after-arrest-of-medha-patkar-3948141.html 

It is so good to see the Kalpavriksha friends being critical of both the Government and more pertinently, of the judiciary. The Judiciary has completely failed in ensuring any credible rehabilitation of the affected people even by legal norms.

It said that in 2000, the Supreme Court linked rehabilitation of those displaced by the Sardar Sarovar project to Article 21 of the Constitution, implying that it was a fundamental right. It cited another judgment that stated that rehabilitation is not only about providing just food, clothes or shelter… The overarching projected benefits from the dam should not be counted as an alibi to deprive the fundamental rights of oustees. Rehabilitation should take place before six months of submergence.

In a reversal of this spirit, the apex court in February allowed for the operation of the dam at its full height of 138.68 metres even though rehabilitation has been grossly inadequate. It mandated the government to put in place all facilities at the resettlement sites by July 31, as if what had not happened in over two decades could be finished in five months.

It also, shockingly, stated that after this deadline, project-affected families must leave the submergence area, else the government could forcefully evacuate them. Even today more than 6,000 complaints of unsatisfactory rehabilitation are pending with the Grievance Redressal Authority. Until these are dealt with, eviction cannot take place legally. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/we-will-be-like-fish-out-of-water/article19523576.ece 

Polavaram Dam How Naidu ‘managed’ panel on Polavaram At a time when reports from the ground zero are indicating that the works on multi-purpose Polavaram project have not been going on at the required pace, the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources who visited the project site on August 18, 2017 expressed satisfaction over the progress of works. Good to see such stuff gets written, exposing the machinations of the government.  http://www.greatandhra.com/movies/movie-news/how-naidu-managed-panel-on-polavaram-83858.html

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Andhra Pradesh Plain lies on Godavari, Yeleru inter-linking CM N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the first phase of Purushottapatnam lift irrigation project at the Purushottapatnam village of Seethanagaram mandal in East Godavari on Aug 15, 2017. The Godavari water was lifted and pumped through the two pumps into Polavaram Left Main Canal.

The CM said that he had commissioned the first phase of the project on January 5, and in just eight months, the first phase was completed. He added that the project would facilitate storage of nearly 24 tmc ft of water at Yeleru reservoir and help the inflow of nearly 10 tmc ft of water to Visakhapatnam to meet the drinking water, irrigation and industrial needs. In addition it would also stabilize the irrigation facilities of the local command area.

The Purushottapatnam lift project is being taken up at a cost of Rs 1,638 cr and will be completed in two phases. After the inauguration, nearly 700 cusecs of Godavari water was lifted and pumped into the Polavaram Left Main Canal by travelling a distance of nearly 10.5 km. The CM stated that Pattiseema lift scheme was commissioned in August 15 last year while the first phase of Purushotta-patnam lift scheme was inaugurated in August 15 this year. He said Pattiseema and Purushottapatnam lift schemes would help supply water to 11 districts in the state. As per CM, state govt has spent Rs 44,140 cr for the execution of several irrigation projects in the last three years in the state and we will spend Rs 10,000 cr next year. The govt is executing as many as 28 projects in the state at present and we will spend Rs 13,000 cr to complete them soon. 

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

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Andhra– Telangana Water level dips as both states fight CRISIS AT SRISAILAM, NAGARJUNSAGAR. The last time Nagarju-nasagar was full was in 2013. Water now stands at about 500 ft, which is an all-time low, said Nagarjunasgar dam chief engineer S. Suneel.

– The Srisailam dam used to receive, on an average, 900 tmc ft of water. Srisailam dam chief engineer Narayana Reddy said the average has fallen below 450-500 tmc ft

ONLY PARTIAL REASON The two dams largely get water from Karnataka’s Almatti and Narayanpur dams. The upstream state does not release water even when its dams are full because it is not bound to do so.

IRRIGATION

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National Major irrigation projects being sanctioned in Tiger Reserves What could pose a major risk to thriving tiger population in the country, Centre has given a go ahead for diversion of 1100 hectares of land in critical tiger corridor connecting three tiger reserves in Maharashtra, Telangana and Chhattisgarh for the construction of an irrigation project. This is the third case where MoEF has allowed diversion of forest land in core tiger habitat. The latest one being a diversion of forest in Kawal Tiger Reserve in Telangana, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, and Indravathi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh for the construction of Pranahita Irrigation Canal. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/aug/15/third-tiger-reserve-core-area-opened-for-irrigation-project-construction-1643706.html

RIVERS

Report Order of 15-20 % e-flow unscientific This is strange direction from NGT. It also said that if it is desirable to fix any lower percentage than the percentage aforestated, then it will pass appropriate order. This ad-hoc figure of 15-20% of average of lean season water flow in all rivers have no scientific basis (each river has different need for env flows and this is subject of assessment and not adhoc direction, and on top of it the NGT provides a wide escape route, to write to MoEF. MoEF and MoWR will happily ask the state to not release, as suggested by their track record so far. The petitioner is asked to write to MoEF if it such releases do not happen, it can write to MoEF and and MoEF to dispose it off “in accordance with the law”, not clear as to what law is meant here. This is when various committees and court orders have recommended larger environment flow.

WETLANDS

Jammu & Kashmir Govt working quietly on Wular Conservation Project According to revenue records the total area of the lake is 130 sq km, but in most years, by October the lake is reduced to only approximately 24 sq km. A detailed study of the lake by Wetlands International reported that the original area of Wular Lake was actually 217.8 sq km, which included 58 sq km of associated marshes. According to the study, the area was reduced from 157.74 sq km in 1911 to 86.71 sq km in 2007. Overall, the study says, there was reduction in the lake area by 45% mainly due to conversion of parts of the lake for agriculture and willow tree plantation. The author also suggests that the plan may impact Indus Water Treaty.  https://thewire.in/166233/project-to-save-kashmir-wular-lake/ 

GROUND WATER

Study Falling groundwater storage being replenished This is counter intuitive. According to researchers from IIT-Kharagpur and NASA, have claimed replenishment of groundwater storage (GWS) through long-term (1996-2014). The researchers used more than 19,000 groundwater observation locations, ground-based measurements and decadal-scale (2003-2014) satellite-based groundwater storage measurements.

– IS THERE A PARADIGM SHIFT THAT IS CLAIMED HERE? “Our study shows a recent paradigm shift in Indian groundwater withdrawal, and management policies for sustainable water utilisation have probably started replenishing aquifers by increasing storage in western and southern India,” said research lead Abhijit Mukherjee from IIT-Kgp.

– In parts of western (Gujarat) and southern (Andhra Pradesh) India, groundwater storage has been decreasing at the rate of -5.81±0.38 km3/year (1996-2001) and -0.92±0.12 km3/year (1996-2002) respectively. But this was reversed to replenish at the rate of 2.04±0.20 km3/year (2002-2014) and 0.76±0.08 km3/year (2003-2014), respectively.

Its not clear which parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan has been studied, and how large are these parts and what is the specific situation here and if it is snapshot or is there a consistent trend-line.

WATER

Maharashtra Mumbai’s water tanker mafia, officials in “nexus” This is suspected to be a conspiracy of the water mafias, who used to sell water at exorbitant rates in nexus with BMC officials, so as to restrict the supply of cheap water and enable water mafias to continue selling water at high rates and of bad quality. http://www.counterview.net/2017/08/mumbais-water-tankers-mafia-officials.html

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal Floods Some glimpses of the impact of recent floods  

– As of 16 August, 18,320 families are confirmed to have been displaced, and 75,000 families affected by the flooding.

– Over 100,000 people have been rescued to date by formal and informal search and rescue teams.

– The number of affected districts has increased from 27 to 35; Morang, Sunsari, Siraha, Rautahat, Mahottari, Dhanusa, Sindhuli, Bara, Parsa, Dang, Banke and Bardiya are among the worst hit districts.

– The Ministry of Home Affairs says that over 80 percent of land in the Tarai has been inundated.

– Hydro-meteorological stations in Banke, Chitwan and Makwanpur recorded the heaviest rainfall in 60 years.

– Biratnagar airport remains closed, and other basic services such as transport routes, electric power and drinking water supplies, and communications are reportedly still disrupted in some places. Several major highways, notably the East-West highway, and inner roads linking villages have been severely damaged.

Nepal has also suffered in recent Ganga basin floods and rightly or wrongly, there is resentment in Nepal about role of Indian embankments in the downstream in contributing to floods in Nepal. The parliament of Nepal has asked Deuba to tell India that its unilateral construction of about 15 embankments — some of them less than 12 km away from the border — has caused the devastation. The House sentiment is that India must be held accountable for the destruction. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/next-door-nepal-pm-sher-bahadur-deuba-india-visit-diplomacy-test-pancheshwar-hydropower-project-doklam-standoff-china-4805846/

In a development what could be an invitation to major disaster Uma Bharti emphasized that long-term solution to mitigate flood and droughts lies in the interlinking of rivers along with building of large storages. The Minister said Govt of India is having continuous dialogue with the Govt of Nepal at various levels to mitigate devastation caused by the flood from the rivers coming from Nepal through planning of various storage dams jointly viz. Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on river Sarada; Sapta Kosi High dam Project and Sun Kosi Storage-cum- Diversion scheme are proposed in the Sapta Kosi Basin. In Brahmaputra Basin, a Committee of the Ministry has assessed storage requirements of 9.2 BCM in Siang, 0.6 BCM in Dibang, 1.61 BCM in Lohit and 1.91 BCM in Subansiri sub Basins. A proposal for construction of single-stage Siang Upper Multipurpose Storage is under active consideration of the Ministry. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170101

As per the another news report the political parties that were together when the Pancheshwar  agreement was signed do not see eye to eye on many issues now. It may not be easy to get them agree on the DPR. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/next-door-nepal-pm-sher-bahadur-deuba-india-visit-diplomacy-test-pancheshwar-hydropower-project-doklam-standoff-china-4805846/

Bhutan About Hydro electricity costs A more recent concern about the hydropower sector is that many Indian states will eventually produce power surpluses, leading to lower prices. This could put Bhutan in a weaker position when finalizing electricity export tariffs to India, particularly on long-delayed projects such as Punatshangchhu I. Should India not be worried that the cost of the power from Bhutan will be too high compared to the cost of power in India, particularly when India is power surplus? https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Bhutan-growth-soars-amid-hydropower-building-boom?page=2 

CHINA

Doklam Deaklock भारत पर पानी से हमला कर सकता है चीन! भारत में ऐसी कई बड़ी नदी हैं जो चीन से निकलकर भारत में आती हैं, जिनमें से ब्रह्मपुत्र नदी सबसे बड़ी नदी है. अगर चीन चाहे तो कुछ दिनों तक पानी बांध पर रोककर छोड़ सकता है जिससे भारत में तबाही का मंजर हो सकता है. सिर्फ ब्रह्मपुत्र नदी ही नहीं बल्कि चीन से सतलुज नदी भी निकलती है. वहीं तिब्बत से निकलकर सिंधु नदी लद्दाख से होते हुए निकलती है और अरब सागर में मिलती है. साफ है कि चीन के पास तीन ऐसी बड़ी नदी हैं जो भारत में तबाही का कारण बन सकती हैं. गौरतलब है कि 2012 में भी इसी कारण पूर्वोत्तर में बाढ़ की स्थिति हो गई थी, जिससे काफी तबाही मची थी. उस दौरान पानी छोड़ने से पहले चीन ने भारत को किसी भी प्रकार की सूचना नहीं दी थी. Can China use water weapon against India? Not clear what 2012 event that this report is mentioning.   http://aajtak.intoday.in/story/china-water-attack-brahmaputra-india-doklam-dam-1-946594.html

Meanwhile, the Govt of India tells media that China has not been sharing Brahmaputra Hydrological Data this since that was supposed to be shared from May 2017. Why the govt was silent for so long is not known. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/assam-floods-death-toll-rises-to-150-northeast-rail-link-cut-off-for-seventh-day/

Also see video of the spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry answering Media questions on Aug 18, 2017, including several on China not sharing data with India this monsoon season. He was a bit tentative (to the best of my information etc), but clear that NO data has been shared either for Sutlej or for Brahmaputra basin that are to shared several times a day from May 15 to Oct 15 as per MOUs in 2013 and 2015, as per the Expert Level Mechanism of 2006, which last met in June 2016. Strangely, he seemed to suggest (thought not clearly) that the data is not related to management of floods, which is totally incorrect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srhqovnw7bQ&feature=youtu.be

THE REST OF THE WORLD

New Orleans New approach to flood control DETENTION, NOT DRAINAGE is the new mantra of new water and flood management plan of New Orleans: http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2017/08/new_orleans_flooding_living_wi.html#incart_river_index

Similarly Tokyo is planning the world’s most advanced system to deal with flooding on a massive scale” costs USD 2.6 Billion. The project is called G-Cans and it’s comprised of gargantuan tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars and enormous pumps that all work together to divert flood waters out to the Tokyo Bay and away from the city’s 35 million inhabitants. The system works by channeling the overflowing floodwaters of rivers in and around Tokyo into the underground tunnels and silos. The project was undertaken by the Japanese Government and overseen by the Japan Institute of Wastewater Engineering Technology. The facility is capable of withstanding a historic flood, the kind that only comes every 200 years. Tokyo exists on fairly low-lying ground and as a result, is particularly sensitive to flooding. http://interestingengineering.com/tokyos-unbelievable-underground-flood-system/

CLIMATE CHANGE

DRP 1

Study Kashmir glaciers melting fast, but leads to no increase in rivers flow Researchers Romshoo and Khalid Omar Murtaza studied the health of nine “benchmark” glaciers in Kashmir Himalayas between 1980 and 2013. The data analysis showed the glaciers in Lidder valley have shrunk by 17%. The annual air temperature has shown increasing trends while a slight decrease in precipitation has also been noticed.

The total glaciated area of the nine benchmark glaciers in 1980 was 29.01 sqkm which reduced 23.81 sqkm in 2013. However, the melting of glaciers has not raised the water level in the rivers. Renoj Thayyen, scientist at National Institute of Hydrology  explains that it depends where you are measuring the discharge and in what climate system. If the catchment area have 100 percent glacier cover, then higher melting will lead to higher discharge. But such catchments hardly exist. As glacier cover decreases, flow regime is controlled by precipitation. Higher melting is linked to reduced snow cover which covers a wider area in high altitude catchment. So reduced snow cover and precipitation is leading to reduced discharge downstream. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/kashmir-glaciers-shrinking-rapidly-says-study/articleshow/60051698.cms

Similarly 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. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=90672&src=nha

On the other hand there is a contrary report providing reason why Galciers along Karakoram range are not melting. The summer cooling over the range appears to be result of a unique interaction between the Karakoram vortex and the South Asian monsoon, which results in the temperatures over Karakoram and Pamir to cool, even as the Central and Eastern Himalayas are warming, the studies have shown. It said that over recent decades, these vortex-monsoon interactions have resulted in stormier conditions over the Karakoram. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/cool-karakoram-glaciers-defy-global-warming-trend/article9818629.ece

Study Climate change to cause more rain, but less water in rivers

An extensive analysis, published on Aug 11, 2017 in the Nature Scientific Reports, is based on data from nearly 50,000 rain and river monitoring sites across 160 countries. It concludes:

– more rain did not translate to more water in river systems.

– Soaring temperatures are whipping up ever-more intense storms inundating cities with flash floods but leaving the countryside and crucial agricultural land parched

– So when the big rainfall events… do fall (in rural areas), a bigger proportion of them are stored up in the soil, so you have a lesser proportion coming out as flows

– city infrastructure is struggling to cope with the harsher downpours, with flood damage worldwide costing more US$50 billion in 2013 — a figure expected to double in the next 20 years.

– Whereas extreme “once in a lifetime” floods are causing increasingly large water flows, regular cyclical inundations are having less and less of an effect on the water table. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/global-warming/climate-change-means-more-rain-but-less-water-in-rural-rivers-study/articleshow/60073208.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 14 August 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 07 August 2017

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