SANDRP

Narela: How A Growing Delhi Is Destroying Its Ponds

Ponds are an essential asset for our survival. They store rainwater and work as groundwater recharge points. They can also treat sewage to some extent. Not long back, ponds water was used for potable purposes.  Since ancient time, they have been central to numerous cultural and economic activities. In fact, village communities had certain set of rules for the preservation of village ponds. But things seem to have changed drastically specially in urban areas in recent decades. Through this field report comprising of latest images, we try to present current status of ponds in and around Narela in Delhi city.

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Watershed Protection in Austin: Governance structures we can learn from

“I swam in the Barton Springs 20 years back. Austin saw explosive growth in these years and is one of the fastest growing cities in the US currently. I can still swim in the Barton Springs. I think this is the single biggest contribution of the Watershed Protection Department.”-Denise Delaney, Environment Program Coordinator, Watershed Protection Department, Austin, Texas.

When I came into Austin, the state Capital of Texas, Indian rivers were firmly on the mind. Pune River Restoration Plan was kicking up. The legal battle against a road inside the Pune riverbed was getting a favourable order from NGT. People of Delhi were fighting their long-drawn battle for protecting the floodplains of Yamuna. A huge People’s rally was held in Mumbai to protect the Dahisar River, which to some would appear beyond redemption. Bangalore Lakes were on fire again. People are looking for solutions, but transparent responsive governance around rivers seems like the biggest missing piece in the puzzle. Read More

India Pakistan resume talks on Indus Treaty: Stakes are high

When on March 20-21, 2017, on the eve of World Water Day, India and Pakistan’s Permanent Indus Commission met in Islamabad for its 113rd meeting, there was a lot at stake besides the immediate issue or even the Indus Treaty.

In many ways, the Indus Treaty remains a bright spot in relations between these two neighbors and the treaty keeps bringing them back to the talking table…This is the magic of a shared river! Read More

DRP News Bulletin 20 March 2017 (South India Reeling Under Severe Drought)

The drought has extended its grip in the South, with the South-West (S-W) monsoon falling significantly short and the North-East monsoon proving a total failure. Reeling under the impact of failed monsoons, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have declared themselves as drought affected. Kerala and Karnataka, which are the worst affected, are already contemplating actions such as cloud seeding to tide over the situation.

In Kerala, the S-W monsoon deficit stood at -34 per cent, and the North-East monsoon, -61 per cent. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu, the deficits were -19 per cent and -62 per cent (North-East monsoon). For Coastal Karnataka, the shortfall stood at -21 per cent and -63 per cent, respectively. Drought-like conditions are also prevailing in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Water levels in key reservoirs in the region are at their lowest. The water tables have declined further even as the civic administration in many cities, small towns and panchayats has been increasingly tapping groundwater to ensure supplies. The situation is so dire that the Kerala govt has directed PepsiCo to cut down drastically on the use of groundwater for its Palakkad plant. Traders in Tamil Nadu are also boycotting these fizzy after claims that foreign firms are exploiting the country’s water resources.

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DRP News Bulletin 13 March 2017 (20 Big Hydro Projects Costing Over 30K Crore, Stalled & Stressed: Piyush Goyal)

20 hydro projects stalled or stressed  The Power Minister Piyush Goyal on March 09, 2017 in a written statement has informed the parliament that as many as 20 under construction HPPs totalling 6,329 MW are either stalled or stressed in the country and Rs 30,147.08 crore has already been spent on them. These projects include 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower of NHPC Ltd, 500 Mw Teesta VI of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd, 120 MW Rangit-IV of Jal Power Corp, 300 Mw Panan of Himagiri Hydro Energy Pvt Ltd, 850 MW Ratle of GVK Ratle HEP Pvt Ltd, 100 Mw Sorang of Himachal Sorang Power Ltd and 960 MW Polavaram of Polavaram Project Authority.

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River bank failure due to sudden water flow changes

Can land, trees, structures, farms, pipes, poles, pumps etc, along a river bank several kilometers downstream collapse if water flow in the river is suddenly reduced or stopped? Yes, reduced/ stopped, not increased? This kind of river bank slump or collapse or failure is not easily understood, but it does happen. Let us see how. Read More

Oroville Dam damage in US: Many questions

USA’s tallest, Oroville Dam on Feather river in California suffered severe spillway damage, as discovered on Feb 7, 2017. As we wrote in our blog “Oroville Dam Spillway Damage in USA: Worst is yet to come”[i] on Feb 12, 2017, worse was yet to come, but the author did not imagine the threat would materialize so soon. Here we try to capture the key events since that blog. Read More

Godavari Basin in Maharashtra: A Profile

The river Godavari is the largest of the peninsular rivers of India. Maharashtra is home for its early flows and Godavari for Maharashtra is no less than Ganga. Referred to as Dakshin Ganga the river holds immense spiritual and cultural significance. Several places at its origin are said to be abode of Rama during the exile. These places are worshipped even today.

One of the unique aspects of this river is that it drains nearly entire East to West length of Maharashtra. And while running ceaselessly towards the Bay of Bengal the river encompasses nearly all the geographically diverse regions of the state. Originating in Western Ghats this river later traverses through the arid and dry region of Marathwada and then emerges in high rainfall region of Vidarbha. While the Upper Godavari sub basin is a part of prosperous sugar cane growing belt of Western Maharashtra; its tributaries like Manjara and Wardha-Wainganga flow through the region where there is still significant potential of local water systems.

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Ground Water India 2016: Plethora of petitions, but no effective action

The year has seen many news reports about national and global water bottling brands abstracting groundwater without valid licenses. In the wake of severe drought, thermal power plants have been criticized for aggravating the water crisis. Reports have suggested that many new thermal power plants are proposed to be built in already water scarce regions. This brief report also covers some judicial orders on this subject.

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DRP News Bulletin 06 March 2017 (Farm Ponds In Maharashtra Causing Groundwater Decline)

SANDRP Blog Farm ponds in Maharashtra Causing Groundwater Decline Farm ponds recognized as a drought proofing measure have received a great push from the central Govt recently. On the flip side however serious concerns are being raised over implementation of the farm ponds and more importantly –their use. Civil society organizations like Watershed Organization Trust and also SANDRP have been pointing out that the use of farm ponds has long drifted from its objective of storing rainwater for protective irrigation. Most of the farm ponds are instead being used as storage tanks for pumped out groundwater exposing this underground resource to losses through evaporation, etc. In the process they are accelerating the rate of groundwater exploitation multi fold.

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