DRP New Bulletin 28 August 2017 (Need for Policy on Equitable Sharing of River Flow)

Krishna River Water Sharing Dispute  The Andhra Pradesh government is contemplating a legal battle against the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments for denying the “rightful share” of Krishna river water to the state. 

As per DU Rao, Water Resources Minister, Andhra Pradesh, State Government is consulting legal experts to file either a special leave petition or public interest litigation in the Supreme Court against Maharashtra and Karnataka for withholding water in river Krishna and depriving the lower riparian state of its rightful share. The minister also said that upper riparian states are not releasing water even as a humanitarian gesture to meet drinking water needs.

The minister further stated that due to abundant rains, reservoirs on river Krishna in Maharashtra and Karnataka were filled to the brim. Both these states have a total of 275 tmc ft of water stored in their reservoirs, but they are not letting out even one tmc ft to lower riparian states like Telangana and Andhra and instead taking cover under tribunals, those states are fully utilising the water.

It will really be a good case if they draft it well. The Maharashtra and Karnataka parts of Krishna basin have stored 275 TMC of water and Maharashtra is also diverting water from Krishna basin to high rainfall Konkan area this monsoon, but not releasing any water to downstream Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/220817/ap-mulls-moving-sc-against-maharashtra-karnataka-over-krishna-water.html

Similarly, the Krishna River Water Management Board (KRMB) is planning to write a letter to the Central government seeking equity distribution of inflows into Krishna River in the upper riparian states to the downstream projects. The move follows a complaint lodged by  Telangana and Aandhra states with the board. The issue of non-release of water from the dams on the Krishna built in Karnataka and Maharashtra in spite of the availability of sufficient water there while the projects in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh having very low levels of water came up for discussion at the sixth meeting of KRMB held at Amaravati on August 22, 2017.

In the meeting, officials of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh raised the issue of surplus waters in the upper riparian states at Narayanpur, Almatti and Koyana dams and at the lack of water even for drinking water purpose at the projects on the Krishna in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which are the lower riparian states.

Indeed the key issue is equitable share of inflows in the upstream projects for the downstream projects. This needs to happen in all river basins at all dams. This is good that Telangana and Andhra have agreed to set up 46 additional telemetry systems, in addition to 18 already in place. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/aug/23/krishna-water-for-telangana–andhra-krishna-river-water-management-board-to-approach-centre-1646995.html

FLOOD 2017

West Bengal Floods Death toll rise 152, 1.5 lakh in 11 districts affected The damage to property has been estimated at Rs 14,000 crore which is likely to rise as water recedes and more damaged roads and bridges are discovered.

This is heard first time that dykes at Purnia in Bihar have been broken on purpose to divert water into Bengal. CM’s demand of dredging at Farakka, Durgapur and DVC is strange and unscientific. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-mamata-banerjee-visits-flood-affected-districts-says-bengal-yet-to-receive-relief-package-from-centre-2537501

The CM has pertinently maintained that the flood in West Bengal was caused due to the release of water from several dams. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/west-bengal-floods-centre-must-not-discriminate-between-states-in-providing-relief-funds-says-cm-mamata-banerjee-4807054/

Meanwhile the situation in Malda still looks grim and remains as a matter of concern as the water of the river Mahananda continues to rise. https://thewire.in/169622/south-asia-stuggles-flood-damage/

National Build resilience in communities through long-term solutions Megh The key message is: Pyne Abhiyan (MPA), a non-profit working in flood-prone districts of North Bihar, is training local communities to build Jal Kothis using bamboo, sand, cement, etc. These structures cost a mere Rs 868 per unit, and harvest rainwater and provide safe drinking water during the floods. MPA has also constructed unique Phaydemand Shauchalayas (ecosan toilets) in flood-prone areas of North Bihar, which are accessible even during the floods. These local innovations are community-driven and help build resilience in people living in flood-prone areas. We need more such innovations, which are the only long-term solution to the riverine floods. http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-no-strangers-to-the-floods-2537476

Also see, excellent blow by blow account (in HINDI) quoting SANDRP extensively on how exactly an embankments and encroachment convert a flood into disaster. साउथ एशिया नेटवर्क ऑन डैम्स रीवर्स एंड पीपल’ के कोर्डिनेटर हिमांशु ठक्कर का कहना है कि बाढ़ कंट्रोल नहीं हो सकती. बिहार और असम जैसे कुछ इलाके फ्लड प्रूफ नहीं हो सकते. यहां बाढ़ तो हमेशा आएगी.

उनका कहना है कि बाढ़ का मतलब डिजास्‍टर नहीं है, विभीषिका नहीं है. बाढ़ बहुत जरूरी और फायदेमंद है. गंगा पहले अपने मैदान में हर साल पानी फैलाकर उसे उपजाऊ बनाती थी. लेकिन अब हम मानते हैं कि ये तो विभीषिका है इसे रोको. इसके लिए हमने बहुत कुछ किया है. हमने तटबंध बनाए हैं.

जाने-माने पर्यावरणविद् ठक्‍कर बताते हैं कि तटबंध क्‍या है. यह फ्लड प्‍लेन को नदी से काटता है. दूसरा पानी को फैलने से रोकता है. फ्लड को ट्रांसफर करता है. हर तटबंध टूटना तय है. ज्‍यादातर तटबंध की क्षमता 25 साल में आने वाली सबसे खराब बाढ़ को रोकने की होती है. लेकिन यदि उसके बाद बाढ़ आई तो तटबंध टूटेगा ही.

ठक्‍कर कहते हैं कि जब तटबंध बनने से पहले बाढ़ आती थी लोगों को दिखता था कि बाढ़ आ रही है. पता था कि कहां, कब, कितनी बाढ़ आएगी. लेकिन अब तटबंध बनने से लोग निश्‍चिंत होकर बैठे हैं कि बाढ़ नहीं आएगी. पर वह आती है. और जब आती है तो उसकी तबाह करने की क्षमता बहुत होती है. ज्यादा तेजी से पानी आता है. क्‍योंकि जहां से बांध टूटता है वहां से पूरी नदी का पानी निकलने लगता है. इससे नुकसान ज्‍यादा होता है.

वह कहते हैं कि जब आप तटबंध बनाते हैं तो उसके और नदी के बीच में बालू जमा होने लगता है. इससे नदी का लेवल ऊपर उठने लगता है. ऐसा होता है तो पानी रखने की उसकी क्षमता कम हो जाती है. इसका मतलब यह है कि तटबंध टूटने की संभावना बढ़ जाती है. जिससे हमें नुकसान होता है. डैम और अनियमित बारिश भी बाढ़ बढ़ा रहे हैं.

नदियां अपने साथ पानी और गाद लाती थीं, जिसे वो पूरे इलाके में फैला देती थीं जिससे जमीन की उर्वरता बढ़ती थी. आज हमने तटबंध बना दिए हैं, उससे सिल्ट (गाद) तो बह जाती है, लेकिन रेत और भारी तत्व रह जाते हैं. अगर हम नदी के प्रवाह और सिल्‍ट का प्रबंधन सही तरीके से करेंगे तभी बाढ़ से निपट पाएंगे.

अनियोजित शहरीकरण से भी हम आफत मोल ले रहे हैं. हम खुद नदी के रास्‍ते में, उसके क्षेत्र में बसने जा रहे हैं. नदी के कैचमेट एरिया (जलग्रहण क्षेत्र) में जंगल खत्‍म हो रहे हैं. अतिक्रमण हो रहा है. वाटर बॉडीज खत्‍म हो रही हैं. पानी की रिचार्ज क्षमता खत्‍म हो रही है, इसलिए भी बाढ़ और उससे नुकसान बढ़ रहा है.

जब दिल्‍ली में कॉमनवेल्‍थ गेम होना था उसी साल कॉमनवेल्‍थ गेम्‍स विलेज का  इलाका डूब गया था. डीटीसी डिपो और अक्षरधाम मंदिर भी यमुना के फ्लड प्‍लेन में हैं. कई अवैध कॉलोनियां बन गई हैं. अब यदि यमुना का पानी कभी इन क्षेत्रों तक आ जाए तो हमारी गलती है, नदी की नहीं. इसलिए विकास कार्य करते समय हमें ध्यान रखना होगा कि क्या हम पानी बहने के रास्ते में रूकावट डाल रहे हैं. कहीं हम नदी के रास्‍ते में बाधा तो नहीं बन रहे. https://hindi.news18.com/news/nation/why-can-not-control-floods-rivers-of-india-1084481.html

Chandigarh Why India’s best planned city, went under after three hours of rain  The Monsoon mess glaringly laid bare the shortcomings in futuristic planning and upgrade of the tricity’s drainage system that was put in place for a much-smaller population base years ago. Chandigarh’s natural storm water channel, the Northern Choe, for instance, hasn’t been cleaned up for last two decades. In Mohali, on a lower gradient than Chandigarh, a project to replace the inadequate storm water pipes with ones with more carrying capacity has been a hanging fire for five years.

Not that their civic bodies face scarcity of funds. Rather they are flush with money as evident from crores of rupees of unspent budget of the Chandigarh municipal year after year, thanks, largely to bureaucratic sloth. In fact, the failure to utilise the funds for capital creation led to a slash of Rs 170 crore in its current plan. The unprecedented water-logging shines light, decidedly poor, on the governance deficit in Chandigarh and Mohali, both billed as the smart cities in the making. http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/why-chandigarh-india-s-best-planned-city-went-under-after-three-hours-of-rain/story-zjLHrdPbtSVMKNPnJnKHeI.html

Also see, video showing how 134 mm rainfall in four hours on 21 Aug 2017 brings Chanidgarh under water https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly-VRw830lk

HYDRO POWER

Himachal Pradesh Impact of leaking tunnel of NHPC’s Parbati II HEP The district administration has relocated nine families of Bhainbal and Raien villages in Sainj valley to the NHPC campus at Sainj following threat of landslide due to water leakage from the tunnel of 800 MW NHPC Parbati-II project. Residents were shifted after they apprised the district authorities of leakage directly above the villages.  http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/families-shifted-due-to-landslide-threat/449248.html

Also see a talk on the political ecology and economy of dams in the Himalayas by Manshi Asher, Himdhara at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai with students of a Centre for Water Policy, Regulation and a Governance. The focus of the talk was on the adverse ecological and social impacts of Hydro projects in Himachal, the economic and financial unviability of these projects and the serious failures of governance. The talk critiqued the neoliberal development model and the privatisation and endless exploitation of nature for infinite greed… in the name of clean energy. https://www.facebook.com/dev1bhoomi/photos/a.1199856066706508.1073741830.1167914983233950/1982268661798574/?type=3&fref=mentions 

Kerala CM acquitted in SNC-Lavalin scam HC on August 23, acquitted CM Pinarayi Vijayan and two others in the SNC-Lavalin case. SNC-Lavalin case refers to an alleged Rs 374-crore scam that happened two decades ago in connection with the modernisation of three power projects in Kerala namely Pallivasal, Shenkulam and Panniar. Pinarayi Vijayan, who was then the electricity minister, was accused of making monetary gains out of the deal with SNC-Lavalin. There is no denying that the modernisation of these hydropower projects did not help. There was corruption. Who was then responsible for this ineffective investment? http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/kerala-cm-pinarayi-vijayan-acquitted-in-snc-lavalin-case/60202332

DAMS

Pancheshwar Dam Site

Pancheshwar Dam पंचेश्वर बांध का क्यों हो रहा है विरोध? जम्मू कश्मीर से अरुणाचल तक बांधों के नाम पर धोखा और विनाश। आज उत्तराखंड की जनता ज़ोरों से अपना विरोध दिखा रही है, दुनिया के दूसरे सबसे बड़े बाँध पर जो महाकाली नदी पर प्रस्तावित है. हिमालय की संवेदन शील पर्वत श्रंखला में स्थित लाखों लोग एक स्वर में बोलें इन पूंजपतियों और ‘विकास’खोरों से हिमालय बचाओ – क्योंकि यह अस्तित्व और अस्मिता का मामला है – यह हमारे जीवन का मामला है. http://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttarakhand/dehradun/villagers-protest-construction-of-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/60013903.cms

Sardar Sarovar Dam Celebration of Narmada death? As per report, during his Gujurat trip next PM Modi on Sept 17 which is also his birthday is likely to dedicate the Narmada dam project. He will also take part in a valedictory function of Narmada Yatra near Sardar Sarovar dam, which will mark the completion of work on the dam. It is worth to mention that in open violation of SC order, more 40000 dam affected people has still not been rehabilitated.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

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Ken-Betwa Uma Bharti lied in Loksabha The Free Press Journal Front Page Report about Union WR Minister Uma Bharti misleading Parliament about Ken Betwa Link. A sensational case of Cabinet Minister Uma Bharti misleading Parliament has come to light. She had on 3rd August claimed that Ken-Betwa river interlinking project had been cleared by all the all relevant ministries. The truth is that the project has not yet received any official environmental clearance from MoEF.  The MoEF&CC said on August 21 that the mandatory environment clearance had not been granted for the project as of now. INDEED, this is exactly what SANDRP has been saying from the day Uma Bharti made this statement in the Parliament. http://www.freepressjournal.in/india/river-interlinkingdid-uma-bharti-mislead-ls/1125654 

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Goa Fishermen ask govt to consult them before signing pact on rivers The state govt should consult all 25 fishing unions and Goa’s fishermen before singing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Mandovi, Zuari, Mapusa, Chapora, Sal and Cumbharjua rivers between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the Goa govt and Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). Nationalization of stretches of these rivers is likely to cause further destruction of Goa as almost 410-km long stretch will be dredged to bring in bigger size vessels for larger cargo. Annual dredging will be carried out to maintain the channel, which will occupy at least 280m out of 500-800m of rivers.

As per fishermen union this will affect fishermen’s activities and may displace them in 47 inland fishing villages. The dredging will create disturbance to aquatic ecosystems. The soil deposits in any water-body have a certain pre-disposed composition. The Goan fishermen are planning to take up this matter with the central govt and at the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) at the 7th general assembly of World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) to be held at New Delhi from November 15 to 21, 2017. SANDRP wish Goa fishermen to collectively take strong stand to protect the rivers. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/consult-us-before-signing-pact-on-rivers-fishermen-to-state-govt/articleshow/60182367.cms 

IRRIGATION

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National Official accepts that Neeranchal, PMKSY failing it objectives The report has some interesting revelations: It was the Secretary of Department of Land Revenue (DoLR) who informed a Parliamentary Committee that World Bank officials had expressed dissatisfaction over implementation of PM’s Irrigation Development Project Neeranchal. This is a part of record of a report on Watershed Development component of Pradhanmantri Krishi Sinchayee (irrigation) Yojona, erstwhile Integrated Water Management Programme, tabled in the Parliament recently.

On responding to a query regarding the ground reality of the Neeranchal Project so far, DoLR Secretary during the course of evidence stated that in the month of April-May of 2017 a team of World Bank consultant came here and they had undertaken a review on the progress. But I must say our performance was very unsatisfactory. The reason for unsatisfactory performance is due to non-release of funds and the fact that appointment of experts for institution and capacity building started very late. The bidding for identifying experts started in early January of 2016 but till today it was not finalised. The standing committee on rural development unanimously expressed concerns over this development. The committee feel that this occurrence aptly sums up the performance of the PMKSY project as well as Neeranchal project which is supposed to aid and augment the technical side of the projects. http://www.millenniumpost.in/nation/world-bank-officials-unhappy-with-progress-of-neeranchal-project-258436

RIVERS

SANDRP Guest Blog Assi river pollution down by 70% in 2 months Manu Bhatnagar of INTACH writes about the remarkable pilot scale experiment proved on ground in Assi River in Varanasi, in two months, with minimal expenses and no structures, showing how it is possible to reduce upto 70% of pollution through bioremediation method. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/intach-pilot-project-reduces-assi-river-pollution-in-varanasi-by-70-in-two-months-at-least-cost-without-any-structures/

India River Week Nomination for Bhagirath Prayaas Samman sought Organizing committee of India Rivers Week (IRW) request for nominations for Bhagirath Prayaas Samman (BPS) 2017. BPS is an attempt to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding, inspirational, unsung initiatives in river conservation. IRW is also initiating Shri Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal to celebrate media professionals who have established an exceptional body of credible work on various aspects of rivers leading to changes in behaviour, public discourse, law and policy. Self nominations will also be considered. Please send the individuals or organization profile for BPS to  suresh@wwfindia.net,   https://indiariversblog.wordpress.com/

Manipur GRPC restricts quarrying, electric pulse fishing along Gundung river The Gundung River Protection Committee (GRPC) has come up with stringent measures in an attempt to preserve and protect the Gundung river and its ecosystem. The committee said that as per the resolution adopted in a joint meeting of all village chiefs along the Gundung river labourers and the labourers working in the river at the residence of Mangkeng, (Chief of Sapormeina) on August 13, various restrictions will be imposed on numerous activities in the river. It said that quarrying using JCB and electric pulse fishing on the Gundung river have been strictly prohibited with immediate effect and also warned the quarry labourers not to encroach or work near at the base of paddy field and the residential areas. Interesting to know there is a Gundung River Protection Committee in Manipur for taking collective action to sustain fisheries in the river. http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=12..180817.aug17

Andhra Pradesh Increasing pollution in Krishna river Toxic discharges from cement projects and chemical factories upstream Krishna river threaten to overshadow “blue and green” capital city Amaravati. Industries in Jaggiahapeta, Nandi-gama, Gudimetla, Ramanapeta and other areas were allegedly polluting the river water, but the Pollution Control Authority is turning a blind eye to it. Huge biotech factories in Peddavaram and Keesara are polluting Munneru, which is a major tributary to river Krishna. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/190817/river-pollution-poses-threat-to-amaravati.html

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Haryana Story of Sahibi river क्‍या आपको पता है कि रेवाड़ी और चमकते-दमकते गुड़गांव से होकर कभी कोई नदी बहती थी? हां, यहां एक नदी बहती थी. लेकिन हमारी लालच ने उसे निगल लिया. इस नदी का नाम था साहिबी, जिसे सीबी भी कहते थे. जो जयपुर के जीतगढ़ नामक स्‍थान से निकलकर अलवर (राजस्‍थान), रेवाड़ी, गुड़गांव (हरियाणा) से होते हुए दिल्‍ली के नजफगढ़ नाले में मिल जाती थी. यह बारिश पर निर्भर थी. जानकारों का कहना है कि 1980 तक इसमें पानी था. बारिश कम हुई तो यह सूख गई. इसके बाद हमने अलवर से लेकर गुड़गांव तक शहरों और कस्‍बों में जगह-जगह उसके ऊपर प्‍लाट काटकर बिल्‍डिंगें बना ली हैं. विशेषज्ञों का कहना है कि एक नदी के गायब होने, उसके चोरी होने का यह घटनाक्रम कभी हमारे लिए ही विनाश लेकर आ सकता है. दिल्‍ली के सिंचाई एवं बाढ़ नियंत्रण विभाग के अनुसार इस नदी में 1967 और 1977 बाढ़ आई थी. जिसका पानी जनकपुरी तक आ गया था.  Story of how urbanisation and encroachments killed Sahibi River. https://hindi.news18.com/news/nation/due-to-encroachment-sahibi-river-lost-in-gurgaon-flood-1087369.html

WATER OPTIONS

Madhya Pradesh Restored farm ponds help Sahariyas tide over drought Even as State reels under severe drought, residents of a tribal village who were denied access to water have collectively restored farm ponds to harvest the meager rainfall to fulfill their water needs. This is the story about how collective effort by tribals in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh leads to solution of their water problems through ponds. https://www.villagesquare.in/2017/08/23/restored-farm-ponds-help-sahariyas-tide-over-drought/

Karnataka Water alternative for Bangalore Three communities in southeast Bengaluru – Rainbow Drive, Adarsh Palm Retreat and Renuka School adjacent to Kaikondarahalli Lake, have created individualised water management plans to solve problems like water shortage, reliance on borewells and flooding. Knowledge and understanding of their groundwater system has allowed these communities to make smarter decisions when it comes to withdrawing groundwater and making the conscious effort to recharge water back into the earth. http://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/bangalore-water-problem-solutions-21016

Kerala Govt launches RWH initiatives in view of deficit monsoon In view of potable water shortage the govt is devising steps to ensure rainwater harvesting on a war-footing. The state received around 30 pc less rainfall this monsoon season, compared to last year. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/aug/22/govt-devising-steps–to-harvest-rainwater-1646411.html

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Tamil Nadu New initiative of govt to fill tanks At an estimated cost of ₹100cr, ‘Kudimaramath’ (small water body revival project) envisages the rejuvenation of 1,519 out of 16,098 PWD tanks in 30 districts. It involves the work of deepening of tanks, strengthening bunds, desilting supply channels and repairing sluices. This excludes the Panchayat Union Tanks and Delta farmers are unhappy that they were not consulted.

MASSIVE STORAGE CAPACITY– Some estimate suggests that the water storage capacity of about 40,000 tanks and other small water bodies is about 17 lakh million cubic feet, which is more than the storage level of all dams in the state.

PAST INITIATIVES HAVE NOT WORKED- Most initiatives taken to renovate the tanks without the participation of farmers have miserably failed so far. When the responsibility of renovating tanks is given to panchayats, the accountability will be better as well.

AGRICULTURE

Report Direct selling, adivasi style by Chitrangada Choudhury This is very interesting report on 0rganic farmers market in Western Odisha. During shopping, middle-class consumers get to interact with the producers of their food and appreciate traditional knowledge systems.

National Doubling farmers income See the first 4 volumes of the report of the Commission on Doubling Farmers Income. http://agricoop.nic.in/doubling-farmers

ENERGY OPTIONS

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Op-Ed Arvind Subramanian is wrong by M Ramesh This is an excellent reply to Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to Govt of India, Arvind Subramanian’s shocking one eyed accountant version of coal advocacy. CEA has refused to fully account for all the impacts and subsidies that coal enjoys and has tried to put the cost of coal plants disruption due to the renewables (solar and wind). As this author says, “In other words, this is akin to saying, ‘go slow on eradication of polio, keeping in mind the loss of livelihood of those who make artificial limbs.’” This author also rightly points out that CEA has also not taken into account the impact of climate change on farmers, among others. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/arvind-subramanian-is-wrong/article9825435.ece

Similarly opposed to the views of CEA, Power Minister seems less confused and clearer. http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/boost-clean-energy-reduce-emission-or-see-economy-dip-piyush-goyal/817927/

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal Pancheshwar Dam Pancheshwar talks at Secretary level fail The meeting of the Joint Expert Group led by Madhusudhan Adhikari, secretary of the Water and Energy Commission of Nepal, and Narendra Kumar, secretary of the Central Water Commission of India, ended inconclusively.

As per an Energy Ministry official who is also a member of the Joint Expert Group, both countries have now decided to hold several rounds of meetings and finalise the DPR by November.

WAPCOS, an Indian state-owned consultant hired by the Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), has prepared the DPR of the project which needs to be approved by both countries before construction can start.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: Key sticking points are use of water resources, location of the dam, installed capacity of the project, cost sharing, funding arrangements and construction modalities of the project.”

OPPOSITION FROM UTTARAKHAND However, the fate of the project hangs in the balance as there is strong opposition against it in the Indian state of Uttarakhand which lies across the Mahakali River from Nepal.

The Uttarakhand state govt has been urging the Indian federal govt to address outstanding issues before going ahead with the project. According to the state govt, the planned Pancheshwar dam will submerge 60 villages and dislocate 31,000 families in Uttarakhand. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-08-24/project-suffers-setback-as-dpr-talks-falter.html

One of Many resentments for Nepal vis a vis India is that last year, India had issued guidelines allowing the import of hydroelectricity generated from only those projects that have at least 51% share of the Indian govt or companies. This move was clearly aimed at discouraging other countries, particularly China, from investing in Nepal’s hydropower projects. Nepal resents this, seeing it as a violation of the 2013 power-trade agreement with India. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/delhi-kathmandu-to-focus-on-getting-projects-off-the-ground/articleshow/60170975.cms

Another major Nepalese resentment to India is the unpaid Koshi barrage damages.  According to Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet, during August 21 cabinet meeting that endorsed Deuba’s India visit decided to hold discussions with India on the damage and losses caused by Indian-built Koshi and Laxmanpur barrages. He also said that India has not provided Rs 500 million committed to local people on the Nepali side of the border during the construction of Koshi barrage. This issue will also be discussed during the visit. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/26060/

In an Op-Ed to The Hindu, Kamal Mani Dixit, the editor of Himal Southasian highlighting one more Nepali resentment to India says that for reasons best known to South Block, India ‘noted’ rather than welcomed the Constitution. A society trying to emerge from the April 2015 Great Earthquake was slapped with the punitive Great Blockade. Even today, New Delhi seems uneasy with the recognition of Maithili, Bhojpuri and Avadhi in Nepal, and prefers the elevation of Hindi as in India.

On why India tried to influence Nepal constitution making in certain direction: For the long term, Indian strategists may be seeking ways to get Kathmandu to allow the construction of high dams and deep reservoirs on Nepal’s rivers for flood control, navigation, urban use and irrigation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. A particular federal demarcation might make Kathmandu more amenable, goes this line of thinking.

On Current Nepal Floods and role of India: As we speak, the Nepal plains are suffering from massive floods that have also affected downstream areas across the border. Besides the spread of settlements, a prime cause for the severity is that the Chure (Shivalik) hills have been gouged of rocks to build elevated roads and levees just south of the border, leading to inundation in Nepal. A permanent bilateral mechanism is required to save the plains population of Nepal from suffering, which is ongoing as this is written.

Also impact of Kosi Barrange: The Kosi Barrage and attendant embankments have the possibility of wreaking havoc because siltation of six decades has raised the riverbed within the levees far above the outlying tracts. The easy answer for the Indian politician is to demand a high dam in the hills of Nepal even as alternatives are not studied. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/rebooting-india-nepal-ties/article19536901.ece (Also see a video showing how Kosi Barrage was built in 1950s and 60s.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJegQamwmBk

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Also see excerpts from Biswo Poudel interview. He has for the past two years been serving as an economist with the Office of the Millennium Challenge. He is the Lead author of “Vision 2030”.

NO HOMEWORK ON PANCHESHWAR: Besides, Deuba comes from the far west, where Pancheswar will have a big impact. He has personal interest in moving this project forward. But we have not done proper homework on this. Pancheswar is a big project. There are not many projects in the world that are this big. US $5 billion is a lot of money for a project. Even if we put 30 percent, we are actually going to come up with $1.5 billion. It’s a big ticket item but do we have money for this? We are struggling to come up with $1 billion for Budhi Gandaki and are asking a Chinese company to raise money. In case of the Kathmandu-Tarai fast-track, too, of the $1 billion project cost, the govt was willing to invest only one-third. For Indians, electricity is not the most pressing issue now, irrigation is more important for them. They seem to be happy with the status quo as they are getting a lot of water from Mahakali River anyway. What India is presenting is in India’s interest. The major issue is on how to allocate benefits on irrigation. Our major weakness is that we fail to come up with our own cost and benefit analysis.

ON NEW HEPs: There are some big hydroelectric projects that India would be willing to fund. But India’s new regulation on electricity purchase is uncomfortable for Nepal. So it’s not clear how much money India has to invest in Nepal’s hydropower. If our electricity production is slow, then we could miss the Indian train as there are so many others who are competing for Indian investment in renewable sources of energy.

INDIA IMPORTING HYDRO FROM NEPAL: At the moment India has a lot of surplus capacity. They have many coal-fired plants and can produce their electricity easily. Thus they are not going to be crippled if we don’t send them electricity. Right now India does not seem interested in our hydropower because we are not producing anything and are actually importing electricity from India. They have so many other options of energy including wind, nuclear, coal and wind. Hydropower is one of many options for India, not the only option. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/26184/

Meanwhile a Public Statement (in Nepali) from Nepal friends on Aug 23, 2017 that urged PM Sher Bahadur Deuba not to sign in any agreement on Pancheshwar with India. It mentioned Pancheshwar DPR prepared by WAPCOS is fraud and fake document so government of Nepal should reject it. We are expecting the statement to be available in English soon. http://www.chakrapath.com/content/abaut-pancheshwar-news-8.html

Flood situation in Bangladesh, Nepal grim

– BANGLADESH: As per Bangladesh authorities more than a third of the country was submerged, and water levels in major rivers were still rising, inundating new areas every day.

– In Bangladesh, flooding by major rivers has surpassed the levels set in 1988, the deadliest floods the country had seen to date. According to the disaster management department control room of the Bangladesh government, at least 98 people died in August. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief estimated that more than half a million people in Bangladesh were affected by flooding. In Bangladesh, the country’s agriculture department estimated rice and other crops cultivated in half a million hectares of land in 34 districts were washed away.

– NEPAL Govt recorded 134 dead and 30 missing in flood-affected areas,” a senior journalist, Dr. Suresh Achaya, told IPS. Some 14 districts out of 75, mostly located along the border with India, were badly affected.

As per International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, this is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods. https://thewire.in/169622/south-asia-stuggles-flood-damage/

Pakistan Arsenic risk in Indus Basin much greater than expected The hazard model indicates that much of the Indus Plain is likely to have elevated arsenic concentrations, although the rest of the country is mostly safe. Approximately 50 million to 60 million people use groundwater within the area at risk, with hot spots around Lahore and Hyderabad. This number is alarmingly high and demonstrates the urgent need for verification and testing of all drinking water wells in the Indus Plain, followed by appropriate mitigation measures. This is first such exposure of alarming situation of arsenic in groundwater in Indus Basin http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/3/8/e1700935.full.pdf, https://phys.org/news/2017-08-arsenic-pakistan-greater.html

CHINA

India’s Docklam muscle flexing could face backlash in Gang-Brahmaputra basin Notwithstanding the misleading title the report has some interesting information. However, India in the past and even now continues to behave in a domineering manner with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal in sharing and managing the water resources in the basin. In this context, India needs to actively work and take the lead towards establishing a multilateral water sharing framework among the lower basin countries of the Ganga-Brahmaputra river. The support from the platform of four basin countries will help India to confront China powerfully and negotiate water sharing issues effectively. In Mekong basin, four lower riparian countries have formed the Mekong River Commission since 1995 and that initiative has given them more leverage to successfully negotiate with upstream China. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/indias-doklam-muscle-flexing-could-face-a-backlash-in-the-ganga-brahmaputra-basi/300661

Similarly, China’s the water bomb theory should not be given too much importance, there are several inaccuracies. However, this is only to take note that such stuff is also being published. http://topyaps.com/china-water-bomb-india

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Global Review of small hydro energy policy This review identified four major concerns: Will Indian Govt wake up now?

  1. Confusion in small hydropower definitions is convoluting scholarship and policy-making;
  2. There is a lack of knowledge and acknowledgement of small hydropower’s social, environmental, and cumulative impacts;
  3. Small hydropower’s promotion as a climate mitigation strategy can negatively affect local communities, posing contradictions for climate change policy; and
  4. Institutional analysis is needed to facilitate renewable energy integration with existing environmental laws to ensure sustainable energy development. http://cjbauer.faculty.arizona.edu/sites/cjbauer.faculty.arizona.edu/files/Kelly%20et%20al%20Energy%20Policy%202017.pdf

 CLIMATE CHANGE

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Study Fish size shrinking due o climate change Its strange why would fish size shrink due to global warming? As per William Cheung, associate professor at the Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries – fish – as cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their own body temperatures. When their waters get warmer, their metabolism accelerates and they need more oxygen to sustain their body functions. He also says that there is a point where the gills cannot supply enough oxygen for a larger body, so the fish just stops growing larger. According to Daniel Pauly, the study’s lead author, as fish grow into adulthood their demand for oxygen increases because their body mass becomes larger. However, the surface area of the gills — where oxygen is obtained — does not grow at the same pace as the rest of the body. http://www.livemint.com/Science/TcP0G1mhDeF1mVuO004gtO/Fish-size-may-shrink-by-30-due-to-climate-change-study.html

ENVIRONMENT 

Assam SC qestions mining permissioin in Dibru-Saikhowa The Supreme Court has asked National Board of Wildlife (NBW) to explain how it permitted mining inside Dibru-Saikhowa National Parm. The Standing Committee of the NBW, in its meeting on July 29, has decided to recommend the proposal of sub-surface mining to extract hydrocarbon beneath 3900-4000 metres of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Assam.  This seems like opening the flood gates for destruction of Dibru Saikova National Park, but also the Brahmaputra river. http://www.livelaw.in/sc-asks-national-board-wildlife-explain-permitted-mining-dibru-saikhowa-national-park/ 

You may also like to DRP News Bulletin 21 August 2017 and DRP News Bulletin 14 August 2017

 

One Comment on “DRP New Bulletin 28 August 2017 (Need for Policy on Equitable Sharing of River Flow)

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