DRP News Bulletin 18 September 2017 (Why Madhaya Pradesh Depleted Its Meagre Water Storage To Fill up SSP Dam For Sept 17?)

As per the Daily Status Reports of Narmada Control Authority[iv], inflow into SSP Dam suddenly jumped from 495 cumecs (Cubic Meters per second) on Sept 12, to 2518 cumecs on Sept 13, 2383 cumecs on Sept 14 and 2210 cumecs on Sept 15, 2384 cumecs on Sept 16, in anticipation of the birthday, so that when Narendrabhai visits the dam site to formally declare the project complete, the reservoir is seen to have substantial water. Expectedly, SSP water level rose from 126.19 m to 128.5 m by 8 am on Sept 15. How was this made possible?

Madhya Pradesh depletes its water storage so that SSP looks full on Sept 17? The increased inflow into SSP was made possible only by increased outflow from upstream Madhya Pradesh dams like Indira Sagar Project (ISP) on Narmada. ISP, incidentally is India’s largest reservoir in terms of storage capacity.

So the ISP storage level which was already very low (about 33%) on Sept 11 with monsoon almost coming to close, was depleted by further 450 MCM (Million Cubic Meters) from Sept 11 to Sept 16 (date for which latest information is available), while SSP water level rose by 750 MCM during the same period. All this, so that water level at SSP could look more respectable on Sept 17. Its not known why Madhya Pradesh is ready to lose water from its low storage levels (in fact, the water level at Omkareshwar Project on Narmada is below Minimum Draw Down level throughout this period).

Will Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and MP Govt be held accountable for this by the media, judiciary and the people?

Low power generation at Narmada dams The abnormally low water levels at ISP and Omkareshwar is also apparent from the abysmally low Power Generation this year[v]. According to CEA (Central Electricity Authority) figures, the 1000 MW ISP produced just 2.97% power in August 2017 compared to Aug 2016 and 520 MW Omkareshwar generated 8.3% power in Aug 2017 compared to same month last year. For the period April to Aug, ISP generated 34.45% compared to the power generated in the same period last year and figure for Omkareshwar for the same period is 42.07%. Funnily, Madhya Pradesh has further sacrificed its water and power availability from these projects for SSP to have respectable storage when the Prime Minister visits the Dam on Sept 17!

Even at SSP, the 1200 MW River Bed Power House has produced NO POWER AT ALL during Aug and Sept (till date). The 250 MW Canal Head Power House too has produced in Aug 2017 21.65% of power compared to the same month last year. For the period Apr-Aug 2017, CHPH has produced 60.95% of power it produced during same period previous year. This means that to fill up the reservoir, even Gujarat is being kept thirsty for water!

This is partly result of Narmada Valley receiving about 22% deficit monsoon as on Sept 16, 2017.

See for details: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/happy-birthday-narendrabhai-but-why-drown-the-narmada-valley-this-day/

ALSO SEE OTHER RELEVANT DEVELOPMENTS ON SARDAR SAROVAR DAM ISSUE

Former general advocate Anand Mohan Mathur has strongly pleaded the case on behalf of the writ petitioners and said that the situation is critical and when the PM is celebrating his victory on completing the dam on Sept 17, the dead bodies of the MP farmers would be “gifted for the ceremony. http://www.counterview.net/2017/09/listen-to-grievances-of-narmada-dam.html

Similarly former CM of Gujarat, no less and that too BJP, is saying about the incomplete Sardar Sarovar Dam (thus supporting the contention that there was no justification for increase in height of the dam at this stage when so much canal network remains to be constructed), poor quality of work and corruption in the project. http://nandinioza.blogspot.in/2017/09/ex-chief-minsiter-of-gujarat-bjp.html

NAPM in its press release states that if Modi celebrates his birthday by inaugurating the Sardar Sarovar Dam, it will only be done by risking lives of lakhs of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1788388937855438

In another press release it informs that govt has started drowning Narmada Valley to celebrate Modi’s Birthday putting the life of more than 40000 families in danger! https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1789356551092010

The third press release of NAPM says that Gujarat CM statement on Narmada Dam inauguration, on the eve of the Grand Ceremony planned to celebrate PM’s birthday begins and ends with falsehood. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1790194557674876

It seems true that neither Gujarat CM nor PM is sensitive to adivasis, farmers, fishworkers who are compelled to sacrifice for Narmada project http://www.counterview.in/2017/09/neither-gujarat-cm-nor-pm-is-sensitive.html

According to a study 70% of Gujarat’s resettled Narmada oustees not happy, 54% want to go back, 82% don’t have pucca houses http://www.counterview.net/2017/09/70-of-gujarats-resettled-narmada.html

Meanwhile, ahead of PM’s visit to Gujarat for inauguration of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, activists opposed to the displacement of tribal families in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have upped the ante. Indeed, there is no justification for the PM’s birthday celebrations on the foundation of sorrow of so many people. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/narmada-project-days-before-pm-modi-inaugurates-dam-protesters-up-the-ante-sardar-sarovar-dam-4844229/

On September 15, 2017 thousands of affected people in Madhya Pradesh have carried out a ‘Jal Satyagraha’ – a protest sitting barefoot in water. The protesters, led by Narmada Bachao Aandolan founder Medha Patkar, say that the water from the dam is likely to affect 40,000 families who might have to leave their homes that will be submerged. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/40-000-people-will-be-displaced-due-to-sardar-sarovar-dam-say-critics-1751427

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It is true that the benefits of the project, “as being touted by the prime minister”, are “far-fetched” as they are a “bunch of lies and propaganda”. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/drama-of-dedicating-sardar-sarovar-dam-to-nation-complete-failure-narmada-bachao-andolan-1751576

Another report shows that how Gujarat Govt reduced Narmada network, irrigated area and diverted water for canals. http://www.counterview.net/2017/09/gujarat-govt-officially-reduced-narmada.html

A senior Govt of India official has admitted that the MP govt has not provided fishing rights to the fisherfolk-oustees of the Sardar Sarovar dam, living on the banks of Narmada. http://www.counterview.net/2017/09/narmada-dam-affected-fisherfolk-dont.html

There is an open letter to the President of India by Prakash N Shah of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat, and Dwarika Nath Rath of the Movement for Secular Democracy highlighting the basic flaws in the project http://www.counterview.in/2017/09/gujarat-is-thirsty-its-fields-are.html

Also see, 15 villages in Banaskantha and Patan districts in North Gujarat to be shifted, question is why now? Is this related to Narmada canals? http://www.gulf-times.com/story/563346/Gujarat-to-shift-15-villages-hit-by-floods-to-high

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Despite great uproar and wilful violations of several norms the PM has finally and formally dedicated the project on September 17.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170864

Here is text message of PM speech given on the occasion http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170868

The height of the dam was recently raised to 138.68 metres, facilitating a usable storage of 4.73 Million Acre feet (MAF). http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170832

The President has also laid the foundation stone of ‘Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana’ (SAUNI) Phase-II Link-4 in Rajkot, Gujarat on Sept 4, 2017 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170527

On the other hand, authorities are refusing to release water from Ukai Dam for irrigation from Oct 1 and South Gujarat Farmers are threatening to launch agitation from Oct 2. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/farmers-seek-release-of-water-from-ukai-dam-threaten-stir/articleshow/60714659.cms

HYDRO POWER

Arunachal Pradesh Commissioning of Kameng & Pare HEP delayed Commissioning of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) 600 MW Kameng HEP and 110 MW Pare HEP has been again delayed by about a couple of months due to floods and landslides. As per NEEPCO these projects will be commissioned next year now. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/two-neepco-projects-in-arunachal-to-be-commissioned-in-2018/60531356

West Bengal TLDP stage IV project restarted NHPC’s 160 MW Teesta Low Dam restarts generation after being shut down in mid July due to Gorkhland agitation, TLDP III is also ready to start generation, says NHPC. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/closed-hydropower-plant-of-nhpc-in-darjeeling-is-back-to-life/60522572

Maharashtra BMC has installed a 40 KW hydropower plant at its existing Tansa water supply line, which has reduced its electricity bill at certain offices. http://www.mid-day.com/articles/bmc-slashes-power-bill-by-50-with-hydro-project-mumbai-news/18582177

Industry Developers of stranded small hydel projects look for relief from IREDA WISH the reporters were better informed and took pains to find out the reality before writing such stuff: “Delays in small hydro power pr ojects in the country are largely due to regulatory changes by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, including the introduction of Basin study, which mandates that the entire river be studied as a whole before proceeding with a project.”

REALITY is that small hydro do not require Environmental Impact Assessment, Environment Clearance, Public consultations, Environment Management Plan, Environment Monitoring or Compliance, all of which in fact is very much required.

Market Temporary spike in spot market electricity prices With the lack of long-term power purchase agreements, the developers had shifted to spot market. Similarly, the states started to rely more on the spot market for short term power supply instead of signing the PPAs’ to bring down their costs. The sudden surge in demand coupled with wind power shortage, maintenance of nuclear plants, fall in hydro electricity generation, scanty rain and soaring temperature led to spike in the prices. http://businessworld.in/article/Power-Prices-Spike-To-Rs-9-91-In-Spot-Market-Unlikely-To-Be-Sustained/15-09-2017-126293/

DAMS

Pancheshwar Dam India says it will bear 65% cost of Pancheshwar project, but that is in line with the additional irrigation benefits that India will get from the project. https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2017/09/15/india-proposes-new-modality-pancheswor-project/

Centre Wildlife panel delegates power to sanction water pipeline projects to states This is INTERESTING, but who will decide whether the project is genuinely the least cost option for drinking water? And not a project without any justification like the Damanganga Pinjal for Mumbai or Nethravathi diversion for Bangalore or Renuka Dam for Delhi? http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/wildlife-panel-delegates-power-to-sanction-water-pipeline-projects-to-states/articleshow/60513001.cms

Maharashtra Mumbai unwanted water project gets Centre’s nod It is AMAZING that people of Mumbai do not speak against this completely unwanted and unjustified dam being pushed in their name! Mumbai DOES NOT NEED any more dams for its water supply. But all those admirers of Mumbai need to speak against such unjust project, destroying forest and livelihoods and rivers and biodiversity in their names. http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/140917/mumbai-water-project-gets-centres-nod.html

FLOOD 2017

SANDRP Report Futility of warning systems India’s current flood warning systems do not provide adequate data, while mitigation advocacy relies on unproven methods. The article in HARD NEWS is by SANDRP Coordinator on floods in Ganga-Brahmaputra basins in 2017. The title does not do justice to the article! http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2017/09/futility-warning-systems

Also see, report on Rajasthan floods this year, it also quotes SANDRP. http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/node/7450

Urban Floods Why does Mumbai continue to flood year after year? Have all the lessons from the July 26, 2005 deluge gone down the drain? https://video.scroll.in/849660/why-does-mumbai-continue-to-flood-year-after-year

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Telangana Jurala gates opened first time this year The flood monitoring officials at Jurala told The Hindu that two gates were lifted to one-metre height and one gate was lifted to two-metres height as inflows into the reservoir increased to over 50,000 cusecs, thanks to release of flood from the Narayanpur dam across Krishna in Karnataka, Ujjani dam across Krishna tributary Bhima river and due to rains in the local catchment areas as well as in the upper reaches of Bhima.

– “Water release from  Jurala commenced much early last year on July 22 night and this year there has been only a moderate flood into the reservoir from the upper reaches which did not permit operation of the crest gates so far. However, we have been letting water into the river after power generation since August 31,” the officials stated.

– The flood is likely to increase and sustain for at least a couple of days as the release into the river from Ujjani has increased to 42,000 cusecs and that from Narayanpur to over 24,000 cusecs. “The inflows also raise hopes for release of more water from Srisailam to Nagarjunasagar project to meet the drinking water needs of Hyderabad City and Nalgonda district,” the officials said.

– Four spillway gates were opened again around 9 pm for about 0.5 meters each discharging a flood of 8320 cusecs. Another 40,000 cusecs was being discharged into the river after power generation.

– On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh too is waiting to draw water for Muchumarri and Handri Neeva Lift schemes as the water level in Srisailam is building up slowly, although the present storage (53.56 TMC ft) is hardly a fourth of the reservoir’s full capacity of 215.81 TMC ft on Friday morning. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/jurala-gates-opened-first-time-this-year/article19696123.ece

On the contrary there is a sad water situation in other parts of Telangana.  

– Across Telangana, the story repeats itself. Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Medak, they are all afflicted by acute water shortage–despite the presence of two major rivers. Mahbubnagar is where Krishna enters Telangana; Tungabhadra also passes through here. Nalgonda, in fact, hosts Asia’s biggest masonry dam-Nagarjunasagar–and Medak is graced by Manjira, a tributary of the Godavari, besides several streams and rivulets which are in spate during monsoon.

– This year, too, there’s been no reduction in annual mean rainfall in Telangana (850-900 mm) but lack of watershed management has created scarcity.

Unfortunately, the hankering for big dams that Telangana govt is doing is not going to help matters. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/river-of-migration-through-heart-of-telangana/articleshow/60707146.cms

MONSOON 2017

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Report Monsoon affected by climate change As the southwest monsoon gets ready to begin its retreat, the central India region — comprising two of the country’s largest states, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — appears likely to remain rainfall-deficient this season.

Meteorologists are pointing to climate change for this season’s erratic rainfall. There were several instances of very heavy rainfall over small areas with relatively prolonged dry periods in between. As a result, there was severe flooding over Assam in the Northeast, Bihar and West Bengal in the East, and Gujarat and Rajasthan in the West during July and August.

– “This year, rainfall was largely localised rather than being distributed over a region. Heavy rains occurred in a short period of time, within two to four days, which was followed by a prolonged dry spell over the same region,” said D Sivananda Pai, head, climate research division at IMD. “This is a typical break-monsoon type, attributed to be one of the features associated with climate change.”

– “The monsoon came under the influence of an active Pacific Ocean and was thereby weakened post July,” Pai said. “That resulted in a long dry spell during most of August and early September too. The moisture from over the Indian landmass was all attracted towards the West Asian regions, leaving Central India with below-normal rainfall.”  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/central-india-stares-at-rainfall-deficit-scientists-point-to-climate-change-up-mp-bihar-4842529/

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Link केन बेतवा प्रोजेक्ट पर रॉयटर्स की पक्षपातपूर्ण, भ्रामक और मिथ्या रिपोर्ट Umesh Kumar of India Water Portal (HINDI) translates and publishes the SANDRP blog about biased, factually incorrect and misleading REUTERS report on Ken Betwa Link. http://hindi.indiawaterportal.org/ken_betava_projekt_par_reuters_kee_pakshapaatapoorn_bhraamak_aur_mithya_riport

Centre Work on 3 River Interlinking projects to begin within three months Nitin Gadkari has said that his Ministry will start work on three river interlinking projects within the next three months. These include the Ken-Betwa Linking Project, Damanganga- Pinjal Link Project and the Par-Tapi-Narmada Link projects. He said that the 3 projects are ready with all necessary approvals, and he will hold meetings with the concerned CMs soon to sort out inter-state issues so that the three projects can take off within the next three months. He also said that during monsoon nearly 60-70 percent of water runs-off into the oceans. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170692

Nitin Gadkari has also said that he will soon set up a task force for speedy implementation of various ongoing programme of the Ministry http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170520

It is very sad that the new water minister is also talking a new comprehensive law to deal with the issue of desilting of rivers http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170695

Meanwhile Dr Satya Pal Singh and Arjun Ram Meghwal have assumed the charge of Union Minster of State for Water Resources. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=170506 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170519  

Telangana Govt opposed River Linking till the needs of the basin areas/ state are satisfied. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/ts-wants-mahanadi-godavari-link-first/article19674367.ece   Telangana also made it clear that there is no surplus water in Godavari. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/telangana-will-support-linking-of-rivers-only-after-its-need-met-says-harish-rao/articleshow/60494552.cms

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Telangana-Andhra Pradesh AK Bajaj panel ON river row to wind up without giving report As per report, a 5-member A K Bajaj committee formed in Aug 2016 is winding up without submitting any report. Its complete waste of public money, says the newspaper. The terms of reference are: To assist Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) in preparing a manual on how projects, common to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ought to be handled and decide how the Godavari waters ought to be transferred to the Krishna Basin in accordance with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/sep/16/central-water-commission-former-chairman-ak-bajaj-panel-on-telangana-andhra-pradesh-river-row-to-win-1657964.html

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam NCP’s Sunil Tatkare not an accused, but not out of woods  Former Maharashtra WR minister Sunil Tatkare named in ACB chargesheet, but not as accused, about Kondhane Dam. The ACB has indicted six officials of the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation and contractor Nisar Khatri of FA Enterprises.

– “Tatkare, as the water resources minister had cleared the project in 2011, he had also granted approval to increase the height of the dam and its cost within one month of issuing work order for the project. This was done by violating several norms but we still have to prove that this violation was done with malafide intention,’’ said a senior home department official.

– The ACB will now probe Tatkare’s role in granting the cost escalation for the project from Rs56 crore to Rs 328 crore within one month of issuing tenders and work orders to FA Enterprises. As per norms, changing the scope of work and increasing the height of the project (from 39 meters to 71 meters) needs a revised approval, which was not taken. It also requires the governor’s clearance. This was also not taken.

– This is a similar strategy that was adopted with former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who is one of the main accused in the Balganga dam project. In both the cases, the ACB said the probe will continue under criminal procedure code section 173 (8), which allows the investigators to attach further reports and evidence, if so uncovered in the ongoing probe. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-irrigation-scam-ncp-s-sunil-tatkare-not-an-accused-but-not-out-of-woods/story-3rcNOVQDINpxB92tKjN89N.html

Nagpur Bench of Mumbai HC has also asked govt to expedite inquiry against former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Bajoriya and file report in six weeks.

– Pawar and Bajoriya have been accused of corruption and irregularities in irrigation projects at Jigaon in Buldhana, Lower Pedhi in Amravati, Raigad barrage near Chandur Railway, and Waghadi in Yavatmal, all in Vidarbha. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/irrigation-scam-hc-asks-maharashtra-govt-to-speed-up-inquiry-against-ajit-pawar/story-rJC7C81ITI6HC0g8VZ138K.html

RIVERS

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Rally for Rivers Press release from India Rivers Week Organising Committee Will this ‘Rally’ help the rivers?  We are concerned about the increasing superficial optics around saving rivers, with little or no effort to address fundamental issues which are causing their demise. The high profile rally initiative to save India’s rivers taken up by well respected religious guru Sadguru and his followers is noteworthy, and the most recent case in point.Please read and Share. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/will-this-rally-help-the-rivers/

Here is another excellent article showing how rally for rivers won’t help the rivers. https://thewire.in/175252/rally-for-rivers-jaggi-vasudev-trees-narmada-adani-sand-mining/

Also see, Nityanand writes about how Isha Foundation was forced to withdraw the video of Rajendra Singh indirectly supporting ILR, when he is opposed to it. https://thewire.in/176490/jaggi-vasudev-rally-for-rivers-river-interlinking-waterman-rajendra-singh-gadkari/

SANDRP Report सिंधुची गोष्ट तुम्हा माणसांना वाटतं की पाणी म्हणजेच नदी. पण पाण्याबरोबर नदीचं रक्त आहे, सोनेरी गाळ. नदीचे किनारे, तिचे तट, तिची घाटदार वळणे, तिचं सुपीक मुख हे पाण्याने कमी आणि गाळाने जास्त बनतं. पण तुम्हाला सगळं सरळधोप पाहिजे. जिवंत विश्व सुटंग-सोपं नसतंच…! This is third Article of Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP in Maharashtra Times. http://maharashtratimes.indiatimes.com/editorial/column/open-window/column-by-parineeta-dandekar/articleshow/60710755.cms   

KRISHNA Andhra Pradesh Along bank, capital trouble builds for Krishna This is an excellent article explaining the kind of threats AP’s proposed new capital Amravati on Krishna river floodplain and riverbed poses for itself, river and groundwater. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/along-bank-capital-trouble-builds-for-krishna/articleshow/60508429.cms

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Maharashtra Govt to enforce stringent laws to tackle river pollution  WELCOME Step by Mah State Govt but unscientific and mechanized desilting of rivers could be counterproductive. Excerpts…..

– Adopting a multi-pronged strategy to tackle river pollution, the state govt, while pledging to make higher budgetary allocations, has decided to preserve and rejuvenate the state’s rivers by enforcing stringent laws to prevent dumping of untreated solid waste and undertaking a plantation drive. Guidelines are being reworked on putting a cap on construction activities along river fronts and following stringent norms. An integrated policy to revive rivers and make them pollution-free is underway. Desilting of rivers that have shrunk has also been included in the plans.

– A senior secretary said: “CM is keen on pushing a wholistic policy involving the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Finance. The state govt believes that tackling river pollution cannot be confined to a handful of rivers. Instead, they should launch the project across all the rivers in Maharashtra.”

– The state govt’s approach is to tackle pollution in all the 302 rivers across 36 districts. There are 49 major river stretches, which are the most-effected, including the Krishna, Godavari, Tapi, Wardha-Wainganga, Panchganga, Koyana, Mula, Mutha and Pravara. The state govt is pushing public-private partnership modules to raise funds for the river rejuvenation projects.

– As per CM almost 85 per cent of river pollution is caused due to untreated solid waste and not industrial effluents. Therefore, we have to make sewage treatment mandatory. Untreated solid waste cannot be allowed to flow into the rivers.”

-The water resources proposal under consideration suggests the recycling of water for agriculture and treatment of water by local bodies before allowing it to flow into rivers. However, the state govt’s foremost concern is to make sewage treatment commercially viable.

-Allowing municipal corporations and councils to sell treated water to industries and for agriculture is also recommended. It is expected to help recover the cost of operating sewage treatment plants and also create funds that could be utilised for river preservation.

KEY Message is “Water expert Madhav Chitale advocated greater participation of local bodies and villages in the river rejuvenation mission. “The river cleaning drive cannot become a success without the help of local bodies and the participation of villages through which the rivers pass,” Chitale said. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-to-enforce-stringent-laws-to-tackle-river-pollution-4847067/

YAMUNA Delhi Narrowing floodplains threaten Delhi. Along the 55-kilometer (34-mile) long stretch of the Yamuna within the boundaries of Delhi, the floodplains have been reduced from their natural 5 to 10 kilometers width, to just a few hundred meters, or in some places, next to nothing. Construction, such as that in Jaitpur, continues – despite the construction ban in the floodplains, where villagers continue farming. Though further north, the river is flanked by fields of corn and rice, construction on the floodplains upstream has also left its mark. http://m.dw.com/en/narrowing-floodplains-threaten-delhi/a-40461053

WETLANDS

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Jammu & Kashmir Dwindling Wular lake threatens livelihood See, a good report of how destruction of lakes, rivers, wetlands in Kashmir is leading to destruction of livelihoods of large number of people. https://thewire.in/176667/kashmir-wular-lakes-livelihood/

GROUND WATER

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Report Arsenic Found In Pakistan’s Groundwater Should Worry India The testing of wells in the valley of the Indus and its tributaries in Pakistani Punjab has revealed that some 50 to 60 million people living in that area are potentially at risk of arsenic-contamination, according to this August 2017 study published in the global journal Science Advances.

The study lists these arsenic hotspots in Pakistan in two representative maps–this showing the level of arsenic in groundwater tested and this the probability of increased arsenic concentrations across Pakistan.

Many of the hotspots border India, which highlights the need for the testing of wells in Indian Punjab. Arsenic-contaminated groundwater discovered in Pakistan’s Punjab province during a recent study could affect those living in the bordering areas in India too. https://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-arsenic-found-in-pakistans-groundwater-should-worry-india-50597

ENERGY OPTIONS

Uttarakhand French Ambassador opens solar power plant A solar power plant commissioned by a French firm with an outlay of 4 million euros was inaugurated by French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler in Maheshwari village in Haridwar district. It would generate 5.5 MWp, which is the equivalent of the local electricity consumption of 13,500 inhabitants. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/french-ambassador-opens-solar-plant-in-uttarakhand/60494661

SOUTH ASIA

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Indus Water Treaty India and Pakistan secretary level talks on Indus Water Treaty will be held in Washington on Sept 14-15, 2017. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/indus-waters-treaty-second-time-in-two-months-india-pakistan-hold-talks-4844218/ Here is another report from Pakistan about the same meeting, speculating on what stand Pakistan may take. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229685-Talks-with-India-to-resume-today-Pakistans-likely-soft-stance-to-drag-water-dispute-settlement

As per latest report, Pakistan has requested the World Bank to fulfil its obligation to establish a court of arbitration to settle its water dispute with India in the light of the IWT. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/world-bank-should-set-up-arbitration-court-to-settle-water-issue-with-india-pakistan-1751438

Bhutan Push for small hydro projects People of Tendruk gewog in Samtse, who are eagerly waiting for the Druk Bindu hydroelectric power project (DBHPP) construction to begin, are urging the government to expedite the work. Meanwhile, it was learnt that the hydropower project is identified at the confluence of Druk Bindu stream and Kachin stream at Seotapsa village in Tendruk. Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) initially carried out the pre-feasibility studies and had suggested for a 12 MW hydropower project. Later, the capacity was increased to 18MW and then to 20 MW. Today, the project capacity is estimated at 36MW. http://www.kuenselonline.com/samtse-residents-await-druk-bindu-hydropower-project-to-begin/

Vietnam Six workers die and two injured at under construction ADB funded Nam Ngiep I Hydro Project in July 2017. https://namngiep1.com/shock-triggers-aging-gas-cylinder-to-burst-and-fragment-at-nam-ngiep-1-project/

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Houston Floods    Harris County San Jacinto flood victims file lawsuit Residents in some of the hardest hit areas in the path of Harvey are filing suit. Houston-based Potts Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit against the San Jacinto River Authority for what the suit calls its  “controlled release” of water from the Lake Conroe Dam.The firm, which represents affected individuals and businesses, say they have a case because thousands of homeowners and business owners’ properties were flooded, not from the rain, but from the rapid water release of the dam. Derek Potts compared the speed of the water as equivalent to Niagara Falls.

Also see, These Harvey Victims Blame Army Engineers, Not The Storm, For Flooding Their Homes https://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/these-harvey-victims-blame-army-engineers-not-the-storm-for?utm_term=.sbppQQrzL#.femmYYgk1

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the 60-year-old Whittier Narrows Dam is structurally unsafe and poses a potentially catastrophic risk to the working-class communities along the San Gabriel River floodplain.

– As per the report, under certain conditions, the spillway on the San Gabriel River can release more than 20 times what the downstream channel can safely contain within its levees. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-whittier-narrows-dam-20170914-story.html

American Rivers In the wake of harvey, 10 facts about floods Wetlands in the U.S. save more than $30 billion in annual flood damage repair costs. Wetlands act as natural sponges, storing and slowly releasing floodwaters after peak flood flows have passed. A single acre of wetland, saturated to a depth of one foot, will retain 330,000 gallons of water – enough to flood thirteen average-sized homes thigh-deep. https://www.americanrivers.org/2017/08/wake-harvey-ten-facts-floods/

USA Important decision by Delaware River Basin Commission A commission that oversees drinking water quality for 15 million people took an initial step on September 13 to permanently ban drilling and hydraulic fracturing near the Delaware River and its tributaries, drawing criticism from the natural gas industry as well as from environmental groups worried that regulators would still allow the disposal of toxic drilling wastewater inside the area.

The Delaware River Basin Commission voted 3-1, with one abstention, to begin the lengthy process of enacting a formal ban on drilling and fracking, the technique that’s spurred a U.S. production boom in shale gas and oil. Besides other locales, the watershed supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water.

– The resolution approved by the commission says that fracking “presents risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to surface and ground water resources across the country,” and directs the staff to draft regulations to ban it.

– “Today, we are acting to protect a watershed that supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people in one of the most densely populated areas of the country,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement.

– Environmentalists were infuriated by provisions they said would allow the industry to draw water from the river and its tributaries for hydraulic fracturing outside the region, and to dispose of fracking wastewater within the Delaware watershed. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/oil-and-gas/regulators-take-step-to-ban-hydraulic-fracking-near-delaware-river/60510629

England Water privatisation looks little more than an organised rip-off  With the removal of all but three utilities from the stock market, these are now mainly international private equity firms and infrastructure funds operating through complex offshore, tax resistant structures. Over the past decade, the nine main English water companies have made £18.8bn of post-tax profits in aggregate, according to a study by Greenwich University. Of this, £18.1bn has been paid out as dividends. Consequently, almost all capital expenditure has been financed by adding to the companies’ debt piles. Collectively these now stand at a towering £42bn. This report shows how UK’s water regulator failed in keeping either customer interest or environment interest on top. https://www.ft.com/content/2beee56a-9616-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0

DRP 12

Grand Renaissance Dam Destabilizing Egypt; Ethiopia’s Nile River Dam Ethiopia’s new “ Grand Renaissance Dam”, scheduled to be completed next year, will take close to half (40%) of the Nile River’s water every year for the next 5 years as it fills up. How is Egyptian President Al Sisi going to survive for the next 5 years without almost half the Nile’s water when the country is presently suffering serious water and hydroelectric shortages, never mind crippling inflation, growing hunger and a terrorist insurgency? http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/09/13/destabilizing-egypt-ethiopias-nile-river-dam/

Report The healing power of nature The idea that immersing yourself in forests and nature has a healing effect is far more than just folk wisdom. RIVERS have AMAZING Healing power, says this remarkable piece.  https://aeon.co/essays/why-forests-and-rivers-are-the-most-potent-health-tonic-around

ENVIRONMENT

Assam NAPM demands unconditional release of Akhil Gogoi NAPM stands in solidarity with Akhil Gogoi and KMSS in their struggle to secure people’s rights and protect their livelihood. NAPM condemns the brazen attack on the people’s movements by the Assam govt and demand immediate release of Akhil Gogoi and withdraw all false charges.

The Assam Police arrested anti-corruption campaigner and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi on charges of sedition on September 13. He was arrested from Golaghat city for his speech about an armed struggle in Assam’s Moran town on September 12.

Akhil Gogoi and KMSS activists have faced repression over years and this is not the first time they have been targeted for posing a sharp critique of the undemocratic policies of the state. In opposing this polarising and communal politics of the ruling BJP government, KMSS has worked hard to bring together secular and progressive forces and that is the main reason why they are miffed and have arrested Akhil once again on fabricated charges. http://www.kractivist.org/assam-rti-leader-akhil-gogoi-arrested-on-sedition-charges-activists-demand-immediate-release/

Sundarban Fleeing the hungry tide “Amar jomi nodi kheye niyechhe (the river has eaten my land),” is a common refrain among the hundreds of families whose land deeds have turned to worthless paper in the Sunderbans region of West Bengal. Rising sea levels, worsened by man-made environmental degradation, have snatched away their homes in this vast expanse of coastal mangrove forests. In many of its islands, such as Ghoramara and Mousini, the edges look like nibbled cheese after being gnawed at continually by rising tides and violent seas.http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/know/fleeing-the-hungry-tide/article9850188.ece

Maharashtra Govt’s mangrove protection plan The State Cabinet on Sept 12 cleared the Mangrove Protection and Employment Generation Scheme for 2017-18 at a cost of ₹15 crore. The government has selected 50 villages (75 in next year) in the coastal districts of Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg under the scheme.

– A Mangrove Co-Management Committee will run the project, under which businesses such as crab farming, bee-keeping, rice farming, fish farming and tourism will be set up.

– Stalin D. of Vanshakti, an organisation working in the field of mangrove conservation, said, “It is a welcome move. Community efforts to save mangroves will turn out to be very effective. It is a way of supporting existing laws by also ensuring financial benefits to community members.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/state-clears-scheme-to-protect-mangroves/article19672867.ece

Similarly MoEF has initiated Wood is Good campaign to protect the forest and increase forest cover in the country from currently 24 percent to ideal 33 percent of geographical areas. This is not possible unless Govt stops destructive projects in core forest areas in countryside. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=170685

Bullet Train Tribals, farmers join hands to oppose bullet train project As PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe lay the foundation stone for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project in Gujarat, tribals in Maharashtra and Gujarat will meet tehsildars of tribal areas that will be impacted by the project and submit letters of protest. Tribals and farmers affiliated to 24 organisations across Maharashtra and Gujarat have joined forces to oppose the Modi govt’s proposed showpiece projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the freight corridor, Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train and the Mumbai-Vadodara expressway. The projects pass through tribal belts in Maharashtra and Gujarat such as Thane, Dahanu, Palghar, Navsari, Valsad and the union territory of Dadra-Nagar Haveli. http://googleweblight.com/i?u=http%3A%2F%2Fm.hindustantimes.com%2Fmumbai-news%2Ftribals-and-farmers-in-gujarat-and-maharahshtra-who-will-lose-land-to-the-bullet-train-project-protest-against-it%2Fstory-AWbl8Z6VR3EOdOTP73twtI.html&grqid=D0fXjgB4&hl=en-IN

Gujarat Village opposes govt fishing plan This is interesting case in Gujarat HC about a village opposing fishing contract in village pond on religious grounds and is ready to offer compensation for loss, but govt says it is question of livelihood for the poor. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-village-opposes-government-plan-hook-line-and-sinker/articleshow/60418958.cms

Odisha Fishermen ecstatic over mind-blowing hilsa catch The fishermen and fish traders in Paradip port town have had their best season in last 12 years with their cumulative businesses adding up to Rs 300 crore, a report said. About 7,200 tonne of hilsa was caught between August 26 and September 6 which is a sort of record, admitted local fish traders. After 2005, there was a drastic fall in production due to several reasons which made the variety much dearer.  

But the catch suddenly went up since Ganesh Puja this year making fishermen work round the clock. The sudden increase in hilsa population near the river mouth forced the fishermen to call their relatives from Andhra Pradesh for assistance. According to the traders’ account, hilsa worth Rs 2 crore was being sold a day since August 26. Some traders even didn’t get time to sleep at night, said T Ramana, a fish trader. On the other hand, each fisherman who went for fishing has earned more than a lakh in these 12 days, it was learnt. The fishermen, who left their native place due to poor hilsa catch, had to be called back to make some quick bucks. Interesting news about sudden rise in Hilsa catch in Mahanadi delta, not clear why. http://www.orissapost.com/fishermen-ecstatic-over-mind-blowing-hilsa-catch/

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 11 September 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 04 September 2017

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