Water map shows billions at risk of 'water insecurity'

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by Rahul92, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Rahul92

    Rahul92 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 4, 2010
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    About 80% of the world's population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure, according to a new global analysis.

    Researchers compiled a composite index of "water threats" that includes issues such as scarcity and pollution.

    The most severe threat category encompasses 3.4 billion people.

    Writing in the journal Nature, they say that in western countries, conserving water for people through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature.

    They urge developing countries not to follow the same path.

    The study maps water availability and quality down to the regional level

    Instead, they say governments should to invest in water management strategies that combine infrastructure with "natural" options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and flood plains.

    The analysis is a global snapshot, and the research team suggests more people are likely to encounter more severe stress on their water supply in the coming decades, as the climate changes and the human population continues to grow.

    They have taken data on a variety of different threats, used models of threats where data is scarce, and used expert assessment to combine the various individual threats into a composite index.

    The result is a map that plots the composite threat to human water security and to biodiversity in squares 50km by 50km (30 miles by 30 miles) across the world.
    Changing pictures

    "What we've done is to take a very dispassionate look at the facts on the ground - what is going on with respect to humanity's water security and what the infrastructure that's been thrown at this problem does to the natural world," said study leader Charles Vorosmarty from the City College of New York.

    "What we're able to outline is a planet-wide pattern of threat, despite the trillions of dollars worth of engineering palliatives that have totally reconfigured the threat landscape."

    Those "trillions of dollars" are represented by the dams, canals, aqueducts, and pipelines that have been used throughout the developed world to safeguard drinking water supplies.

    Their impact on the global picture is striking.


    Looking at the "raw threats" to people's water security - the "natural" picture - much of western Europe and North America appears to be under high stress.

    However, when the impact of the infrastructure that distributes and conserves water is added in - the "managed" picture - most of the serious threat disappears from these regions.

    Africa, however, moves in the opposite direction.

    "The problem is, we know that a large proportion of the world's population cannot afford these investments," said Peter McIntyre from the University of Wisconsin, another of the researchers involved.

    "In fact we show them benefiting less than a billion people, so we're already excluding a large majority of the world's population," he told BBC News.

    "But even in rich parts of the world, it's not a sensible way to proceed. We could continue to build more dams and exploit deeper and deeper aquifers; but even if you can afford it, it's not a cost-effective way of doing things."

    According to this analysis, and others, the way water has been managed in the west has left a significant legacy of issues for nature.

    Whereas Western Europe and the US emerge from this analysis with good scores on water stress facing their citizens, wildlife there that depends on water is much less secure, it concludes.
    Concrete realities

    One concept advocated by development organisations nowadays is integrated water management, where the needs of all users are taken into account and where natural features are integrated with human engineering.

    One widely-cited example concerns the watersheds that supply New York, in the Catskill Mountains and elsewhere around the city.

    Water from these areas historically needed no filtering.

    That threatened to change in the 1990s, due to agricultural pollution and other issues.

    The city invested in a programme of land protection and conservation; this has maintained quality, and is calculated to have been cheaper than the alternative of building treatment works.

    Mark Smith, head of the water programme at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) who was not involved in the current study, said this sort of approach was beginning to take hold in the developing world, though "the concrete and steel model remains the default".

    "One example is the Barotse Floodplain in Zambia, where there was a proposal for draining the wetland and developing an irrigation scheme to replace the wetlands," he related.

    "Some analysis was then done that showed the economic benefits of the irrigation scheme would have been less than the benefits currently delivered by the wetland in terms of fisheries, agriculture around the flood plain, water supply, water quality and so on.

    "So it's not a question of saying 'No we don't need any concrete infrastructure' - what we need are portfolios of built infrastructure and natural environment that can address the needs of development, and the ecosystem needs of people and biodiversity."
    Dollars short

    This analysis is likely to come in for some scrutiny, not least because it does contain an element of subjectivity in terms of how the various threats to water security are weighted and combined.


    Nevertheless, Mark Smith hailed it as a "potentially powerful synthesis" of existing knowledge; while Gary Jones, chief executive of the eWater Co-operative Research Centre in Canberra, commented: "It's a very important and timely global analysis of the joint threats of declining water security for humans and biodiversity loss for rivers.

    "This study, for the first time, brings all our knowledge together under one global model of water security and aquatic biodiversity loss."

    For the team itself, it is a first attempt - a "placeholder", or baseline - and they anticipate improvements as more accurate data emerges, not least from regions such as Africa that are traditionally data-scarce.

    Already, they say, it provides a powerful indicator that governments and international institutions need to take water issues more seriously.

    For developed countries and the Bric group - Brazil, Russia, India and China - alone, "$800bn per year will be required by 2015 to cover investments in water infrastructure, a target likely to go unmet," they conclude.

    For poorer countries, the outlook is considerably more bleak, they say.

    "In reality this is a snapshot of the world about five or 10 years ago, because that's the data that's coming on line now," said Dr McIntyre.

    "It's not about the future, but we would argue people should be even more worried if you start to account for climate change and population growth.

    "Climate change is going to affect the amount of water that comes in as precipitation; and if you overlay that on an already stressed population, we're rolling the dice."

    Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11435522
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    India's Water Crisis Sparks Demand for AEHI's Nuclear Desalination Systems
    World Bank Report Says India Water Supply in Danger by 2020

    BOISE, Idaho, Sep 14, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.'s (OTCQB:AEHI) (Alternate Energy Holdings > Home) proposed nuclear desalination reactor systems have generated significant interest in India. According to recently published reports by the World Bank, India's demand for water will exceed its sources of supply by 2020. Indian companies are now looking into nuclear desalination reactors as one solution to that nation's water crisis.

    Tubestar Oil and Gas, an oilfield inspection service based in Mumbai, India, is one example of how India's private sector is investigating the use of nuclear desalination. The company is now reviewing the feasibility of building a nuclear desalination plant that would supply both power and clean water in India. Tubestar recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Green World Water (TM) (Green World Water™ - Home), a subsidiary of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. based in Eagle, Idaho. Green World Water(TM) plans to market nuclear desalination systems that create clean water and power simultaneously.

    "Green World Water's reactor is designed to produce the power Tubestar wants and the water India needs. In fact, it can process enough salt water from the ocean to provide clean fresh water for up to 1 million people per day," stated Don Gillispie, CEO of AEHI. "Using nuclear desalination we can produce clean water for a cost as low as 35 cents per cubic meter. Comparisons with coal, natural gas and wind indicate costs of between $2 and $12 per cubic meter."

    The World Bank's report "India's Water Economy: Bracing for a Turbulent Future" states, "Unless water management practices are changed -- and changed soon -- India will face a severe water crisis within the next two decades." The World Bank's State of India Environment also reports that the per capita drinking water availability in India has dramatically dropped by 15%-20% over the past 20 years. World Bank estimates that 21% of the communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.

    Tubestar Oil and Gas, based in Mumbai, India, is in a region facing a critical water shortage. Mumbai currently faces a water shortfall of 650 million liters per day. According to a recent article entitled "India's Flood of Troubles" authored by Nikhil Inamdar (http://www.the-nri.com/index.php/2010/07/indias-flood-of-troubles/): "The coming years could prove even more difficult as demand increases and sources of fresh water supply dry up due to heavy contamination. A World Bank study ranked Delhi, India's capital, as the worst performing city when it came to water availability in Asia followed closely by Mumbai coming second."

    The World Nuclear Association (Nuclear Desalination | Nuclear Water Desalination) recently reported that India has been engaged in desalination research since the 1970s.

    "India's potential deployment of nuclear desalination reactors on a commercial basis would help spur its economic growth over the next decade," said AEHI's Gillispie. "India should position itself to lead the world in the use of nuclear desalination reactors, as both the government and private sector businesses demand a cost-effective solution to the country's water crisis."

    About Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (Alternate Energy Holdings > Home) -- Alternate Energy Holdings develops and markets innovative clean energy sources. The company is the nation's only independent nuclear power plant developer seeking to build new power plants in multiple non-nuclear states. Other projects include Energy Neutral(TM), which removes energy demands from homes and businesses (Energy Neutral > Home), Colorado Energy Park (nuclear and solar generation), and Green World Water(TM), which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation (Green World Water™ - Home), production of potable water and other suitable applications. AEHI China, headquartered in Beijing, develops joint ventures to produce nuclear plant components and consults on nuclear power.

    Safe Harbor Statement: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "target," "optimistic," "intend," "aim," "will" or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements include, among others, those concerning our expected financial performance and strategic and operational plans, as well as all assumptions, expectations, predictions, intentions or beliefs about future events, including our ability to list on a national securities exchange. These statements are based on the beliefs of our management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to us and reflect our current view concerning future events. As such, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among many others: our significant operating losses; our limited operating history; uncertainty of capital resources; the speculative nature of our business; our ability to successfully implement new strategies; present and possible future governmental regulations; operating hazards; competition; the loss of key personnel; any of the factors in the "Risk Factors" section of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the most recently completed fiscal year; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. You should also carefully review the reports that we file with the SEC. We assume no obligation, and do not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

    This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, GlobeNewswire - Press Release Distribution - EDGAR Filings - Video News Releases

    SOURCE: Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh kicks off tour for Ganga conservation

    2010-10-01 19:40:00
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    Magsaysay award winner and environmentalist Rajendra Singh began a three-month tour on Friday to constitute 'Ganga Panchayats' in towns and villages along the river Ganga.

    The tour has been planned for conservation of river Ganga and to spread awareness among the common people about the pollution.

    The councils are spread over 90 towns and 1,000 villages between Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.

    "It is a journey for the conservation of the River Ganga. We believe that the society will fulfill its responsibility towards the rebirth of Ganges and save it from pollution and other impurities," said Singh.

    Meanwhile, Harpal Singh Rana, another activist of the Ganga council said the cleaning of the river is not impossible without public support.

    "Till the time the public is not aware of their responsibility regarding the River Ganga, the government cannot work alone. Many programmes have been made before on the Ganga and crores of rupees have been spent on the projects, but the condition of the river is getting worse, day-by-day," said Rana.

    "It is a programme for the common people to make Ganga Panchayat, so that they can understand their responsibility towards it and actively contribute in the conservation of the river," he added.

    The high pollution in the Ganga affects 400 million people, who live close to the river. (ANI)
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A sombre appraisal of water resources

    In a mid-term review, the Planning Commission calls for a holistic approach to water management, based on the hydrologic cycle in place of the silos into which the resource has been divided.

    In the Planning Commission's 11th mid-term appraisal report, Chapter 21 is devoted to Water Resources. Recognising that the problems in this area appear more serious than originally assessed, the appraisal calls for a holistic approach based on the science of the hydrologic cycle, to supplant the many different administrative compartments into which water management is currently divided. The salient findings of the report include the unsustainable depletion of groundwater caused by a progressive shift over the past decades from the use of surface water to more conveniently accessible groundwater; poor project formulation coupled with shortfalls in the Central government's support to enhance realisation of the irrigation potential; and the need for cautionary diligence before embarking on the ambitious project to interlink rivers. In conclusion, the report urges the implementation of the widely spelt remedial measures to protect water quantity and quality. It also recommends that rain-harvesting be enhanced, artificial recharge structures energised, water-use efficiency improved, and treatment and reclamation of urban waste water bettered.

    As a planning document, the report aptly focusses on how existing water-use methods can be improved and enhanced through monetary and administrative reforms. The report defers unitary treatment of the hydrological cycle to the 12th Five-Year Plan. Even so, it is pertinent to examine what is involved in taking a holistic hydrologic-cycle view of the issue.


    Perhaps the starting point is to recognise that the water over India is a finite, limited resource with uncertain annual variability. As such, it is to be monitored and managed on various spatial and temporal scales. Thus, the overall task is fundamentally “resource-limited.” In other words, the nature of the resource is no more an externality. Traditional practices of using the most convenient source available were “policy-limited” in the sense that when water was assumed to be freely available, policy would encourage the use of the most convenient source. Given this perception, what needs to be done is to effect an orderly transition from a “policy-limited” mind-set to one of “resource-limited” mind-set. This perspective provides a context to examine what a “holistic view of the hydrologic cycle” entails.

    Given a watershed or a river basin of appropriate scale of interest, a water budget allowing for evapo-transpiration and environmental flows, limits utilisable water to about 15 per cent of the total annual precipitation. This includes surface water and groundwater, including artificial recharge and rain-harvesting. Since surface water and groundwater are essentially components of the same resource, it would appear prudent not to separate them any longer. This notion is already central to the oft-declared conjunctive strategy of water management. Within the constraint of this water availability, we have to fit in all the extant water use and distribution structures — public, private, and cooperative — to optimise its use among the stake-holders. Deceptively simple in logic, this is a daunting, formidable challenge that confronts all segments of India's society, from the lay person to state functionaries and learned academies. The quality of their individual and collective responses to this fundamental issue will determine the quality of adaptation to the scenarios of severe scarcity that are unfolding.

    In order to improve the chances of a transition happening from the silos to the hydrologic-cycle perspective, informed debates involving earth scientists and engineers are essential. They should present knowledge bases for decision options, among social scientists and administrators who formulate policies, and among citizens in general, who by the dint of intuitive visualisation and experience of the impact of these policies, may contribute wisdom. Such wide-ranging discourses are indispensable to define the collective and differentiated responsibilities of the various segments of society, in a common bid to conserve and safeguard the integrity of a resource that is vital for human survival. Yet, the Planning Commission's report devotes attention primarily to administrative and financial reforms, which by themselves will hardly help change the status quo. Can the country wait until the next Plan to consider the imperatives of a unitary hydrological cycle to guide its course?


    Indeed, one may argue that the time to act is now, especially in view of the Water Mission statement issued by the Prime Minister's Climate Council in May 2010. That statement envisages a national water policy being put in place by 2013. Should not that goal be coordinated with the Planning Commission's plans for the immediate future?

    It is also relevant to consider the role of the Central government in the light of a unitary hydrological cycle. The Commission's report accepts the extant policy of water being a State subject, continuing in perpetuity. This implicitly relegates the Centre's role to merely providing monetary incentives for growth. However, based on developments relating to water policy in the European Union and other countries, one may visualise that the Centre has a far more important role to play in providing a heavy philosophical anchor that will give character to a national water policy as envisaged in the Water Mission. Elsewhere, we have emphasised the high desirability of a Constitutional mandate on water that would re-examine existing laws and policy to creatively respond to the new knowledge of water science that has been gained since their initial formulation.


    So, it would be disheartening if India chooses to defer action in grappling with the complex task of water management that demands participation by the various segments of its diverse society. At an infrastructure level, the time is now to build institutions and training facilities to monitor complex earth systems, disseminate information on a real-time basis, and equally important, carry out research on understanding, and adapting to, these systems to delineate policy options that may become the basis for future legislative and regulatory acts. There are serious concerns that earth-related knowledge is lagging behind the physical and biological sciences in India.

    India's vision for food security and economic security will be in jeopardy without the availability of stabilised water supplies over the coming years. For India's gifted and the bright, the most challenging future lies in advancing knowledge and understanding of the complex web of earth resource systems, water, land and the biological habitat through which matter and energy flow incessantly to restore equilibrium, and in the process, fashion the environment in which everyone lives and breathes. The task is formidable, but this is a challenge that India shares with many other countries. There are opportunities for creative thinking and breakthroughs that may enable India to provide world leadership. Much will depend on how the country's leadership, and those who help fashion policies, choose to act.

    (T.N. Narasimhan is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California at Berkeley ([email protected]). Vinod K. Gaur is with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation, Bangalore ([email protected]).)
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Ganges barrage work from 2012

    Staff Correspondent
    The government plans to begin construction of the long-awaited Ganges Barrage in Rajbari district in December 2012 to preserve the river water during monsoon and release it during lean period.

    The barrage will facilitate irrigation of about 19 lakh hectares of arable land in greater Kushtia, Faridpur, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Pabna and Rajshahi districts, Water Resource Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen told journalists yesterday.

    Revived four decades after the original initiative, the ambitious project will also allow construction of a 118 to 160 megawatt hydro power plant at the site.

    "People from 19 districts will be directly benefited once the project is implemented," Ramesh said.

    It will take 2-3 years to construct the main barrage, and 10-12 years to complete the project at an estimated cost of Tk 12,000 crore.

    “This barrage will retain surface water. This will help replenish the sub-soil water which we are extracting in a way that is sure to cause desertification,” the minister said.

    He was upbeat about the project as its feasibility study that began last year is progressing ahead of the schedule. The consultant assigned to do the job has completed 37 percent of the task till now instead of 33 percent as per schedule.

    Briefing the press after the second meeting of the Feasibility Study and Detailed Engineering for Ganges Barrage Project Steering Committee, Ramesh said when the barrage is constructed, water will flow through the now dead Gorai river.

    The Gorai ran dry following India's construction of Farakka barrage in the upstream in the sixties. This barrage greatly affected Bangladesh's agriculture, fisheries, forest resources and river transportation, and the rivers also started losing navigability.

    Against this backdrop, the government in 1972 took the initiative to construct Ganges Barrage. But the project was shelved following the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

    The present government revived the initiative last year by awarding a contract to an international consultant-- DDC and Associates Ltd-- to conduct a feasibility study of the project at a cost of Tk 34 crore.

    Ramesh said the government will invite tender for construction of the barrage in April 2012 and the prime minister is expected to inaugurate construction work in December the same year.

    Experts say implementation of this project will greatly help ensure environmental balance and preserve forest and biodiversity of the salinity-affected Sundarbans.

    And it will also help restore navigability of the southern rivers fed by the Ganges system, and preserve sweet water fish resources.

    In this connection, Ramesh said the government will organise workshops with experts and people concerned with environmental issues.

    In reply to a question, he said the government is hopeful of signing Teesta water-sharing treaty with India by June next year.

    State Minister for Water Resources Mahbubur Rahman Khokon and high officials were present at the briefing.
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Managing water, preventing floods

    by Rajan Philips

    Pre-monsoon rains in May wreaked havoc in as many as five Provinces. The Western Province was the worst, with all three Districts, Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara recording significantly high rainfall over long durations. Puttalam District in the Northwestern Province, Galle District in the Southern Province as well as parts of the Sabaragamuwa and Central Provinces also received heavy rainfalls.

    The cumulative effects were severe and extensive. The rains added a few more hundred thousands Sri Lankans to the national category of "internally displaced people." Properties were damaged and roadways became inoperable. Many areas in Colombo were badly affected by the rain including: Jawatta Road, Thurstan Road, Torrington Avenue and Wijerama Mawatha areas, as well as Borella, Dematagoda, Grandpass, Kotahena, Maligawatta, Maradana, Narahenpita, Nugegoda, Pettah and Rajagiriya. Coastal areas were affected in Puttalam while the Munamalwatta River flooded many areas in Kalutara.

    The national parliament, built on an island on a lake, had to be closed because of flooding fears. Government’s plans for the first anniversary showcasing of the war victory over the LTTE were literally rained out. Now the scramble is on to clean up the city in time for the 2010 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards celebrations scheduled for June 3-5.

    Many roads and roundabouts within Colombo went under water, and the Colombo-Kandy Road was impassable at several places. The airport operations at Katunayake were badly affected and flights had to be diverted to Chennai. Vehicular access to the airport was impossible at times and a helicopter service was provided for wealthier passengers to access the airport. The new airport road under construction for ten years was a major cause of floods in areas around the airport – Wattala, Mabole, Ja-Ela and Seeduwa areas. The half-built road was preventing the flow of water like a dam and had to be blasted by the Navy to create an outlet.

    The intensity and the duration of the storm was unusual. The Colombo Observatory reportedly recorded 132 mms of rain between 8.30 a.m. and 2.30 pm in one day, while 24 hour monitoring outside Colombo ranged from 95 mm to 313 mm. According to Indian observations, Kerala and other parts in South India have been experiencing even more intense pre-monsoon rainfalls, but there have been no comparable reports of flooding and damages.

    The major cause of the floods in Colombo has been identified as the inadequacy of the drainage system. Omar Kamil, Chief City Administrator of the Colombo Municipal Council, has drawn attention to the under-capacity of the City’s drainage system, built in 1938 when Colombo’s population was 80,000, to meet the current conditions when the resident population is ten times more and another half a million visitor population is also there to account for.

    Put another way, the built-up areas in the City have increased considerably reducing the green space for infiltration and increasing the volume of water that has to be drained out after every rain. This phenomenon is not limited to the City and the flood experience of outer districts attests to that.

    What is worse, even the existing drainage system has not been properly maintained. Apart from garbage and dumping, there has also been encroachment onto drainage facilities involving unauthorized construction. According to Mr. Kamil, longstanding drainage canals like the Torrington canal and St. Sebastian canal were not functioning to capacity, affecting the runoff to the sea and spilling over to roads adjacent properties.

    Wetlands and swamps help in retaining rainwater and help avoid floods in addition to their numerous ecological benefits. Failure to protect and enhance these wetlands, and, worse, the blatant abuse of wetlands for official reclamation and unofficial dumping are also a major reason for the floods.

    The Water Cycle

    Even before the floodwaters could subside, political mud was found in enough quantities to throw around. There are also plenty of easy targets for casting blame. Shanty dwellers and local authorities have received the bulk of the blame, even though they are the least resourced and powerless in the pecking order. The Urban Development Authority has been singled out for special blame by Ministers and Secretaries, conveniently forgetting that the UDA has been under the charge of UPFA Ministers and officials for sixteen years.

    The gravity of the situation forced the President to declare a moratorium on ministerial jaunts overseas, and give priority to disaster management and relief measures. As long term solutions, Ministers and municipal leaders are musing about uprooting shanty dwellers without compensation, revamping the drainage system according to a new Master Plan, and digging large ponds to retain rain water and prevent flooding. But these measures by themselves can be counterproductive.

    Shanty dwelling is a social problem that needs to be addressed on its own and not as a flood preventing measure. In nature’s water-cycle involving evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and surface runoff/infiltration, social control is feasible and applied almost totally in regard to the end phases of runoff and infiltration. Even here, the extent of control is negligible to the natural water balance but is vital to the survival and prosperity of societies.

    In the hoary tradition of Sri Lanka’s hydraulic civilization, the emphasis was on the control of surface runoff and retention of large bodies of water for cultivation and food production. In pre-modern times, vast open spaces also facilitated infiltration of rain water into ground water. Modernity and urbanization have shrunk the open spaces and replaced them with impermeable built environment, thereby reducing the scope and opportunities for infiltration, and increasing the amount of runoff.

    Engineers found ways for conveying the runoff as quickly as possible as a fluid nuisance away from the built environment. But the conventional engineering approach to continuously create capacity for ever increasing runoff involving the building of large ponds and conveyance channels as well as widening rivers – has found to be counter productive in many instances.

    The more sustainable approach is to promote development and building activities that have low impacts on the natural system, and to undertake measures that will enhance the natural system – particularly the wetlands and rivers and waterways. Central to this approach is also the realization that rainfalls should not be treated as inconvenient runoffs causing floods, but a valuable resource that can be used in many ways. The same realization underpinned the old hydraulic civilization.
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Managing the monsoons

    Business Standard | 2010-08-26 02:10:00

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    Catastrophes like unprecedented floods in Pakistan and China and cloudburst in a desert region like Leh in Jammu and Kashmir are no longer rarities. With climate change being a reality, freakish weather-induced calamities are bound to become more frequent all over the world; India being no exception. Mechanisms, therefore, need to be put in place to minimise, if not wholly eliminate, the damage due to such events. Unusual floods in southern India last year, due to unexpectedly heavy downpours towards the fag end of the monsoon season in late September, and the deluge of the desert track of Rajasthan in the beginning of the monsoon season a few years earlier could be examples of climate change-related perils. This year again, relentless rains for over a week in most parts of the country has caused many rivers to swell and submerge surrounding areas, exposing the under-preparedness of the authorities to confront such contingencies. River Yamuna is swelling by the day in Delhi, necessitating evacuation of people to safer, but under-prepared, places. Equally alarming is the state of rivers like Brahmaputra, Ganga, Sutlej, Kosi, Ghaggar and their tributaries which are flowing above the danger mark and have flooded nearby tracts.

    The problems caused by overflowing rivers in the monsoon season are compounded by the poor upkeep of river embankments and the vulnerability of a large number of vintage dams. More than 100 of the country’s total 4,700-odd big, medium and small dams are more than a century old and have far outlived their stipulated lifespans. Over a score of dams have already collapsed in past few decades. The worst deluge in recent memory, with huge loss to life, livelihoods and property, in Bihar in 2008, was triggered by a breach of Kosi embankment near the Indo-Nepal border. Unlike in a natural disaster like an earthquake, which can neither be foreseen nor prevented, floods are both predictable and preventable to a large extent. Flood-prone areas, totalling around 40 million hectares, are already known and well demarcated. Yet, flood-proofing measures have not been taken in most of these tracts. A flood-forecasting system, too, is in place. But its output is often found wanting in details. Mere volume of flows in rivers is no longer the sole criterion that determines the level of flood threat. Most of the rivers are heavily silted which has raised their beds and curtailed their water-holding capacity. Even meagre rise in flows can, therefore, cause water to spread to nearby areas. The natural disaster management system is geared largely towards rescue and relief operations, though in this task, too, the services of the armed forces often need to be sought. Most importantly, there is need for proper maintenance of river bunds and dams, and meticulous management of stored water in the reservoirs and their flows through floodgates. Also, habitations on the beds and flood pans of rivers should be strictly curbed to minimise human and livestock casualties. Better to be safe than sorry.
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Local engineer spends two years helping out in India

    Chip Halbert helped villagers make sand filters to capture rainwater from rooftops and showed them how micro-hydroelectric projects could provide power to remote areas.
    Landau Associates

    Often people are drawn to environmental consulting out of desire to balance a healthy natural environment with the need for commercial and industrial development. As professionals, they serve a vital need in sustaining and restoring our natural assets, but sometimes, these people choose to make a difference at a grassroots level through volunteer engagement.

    For Chip Halbert and his family, the perfect mix of ecological knowledge, a motivating desire to serve and strong commitment to preserving the world in which we live, stirred them to put down roots in the Indian Himalayas for two years.

    Chip, an environmental engineer with Landau Associates for the past 12 years, was serving as director of environmental permitting and natural resources when he and his family made the decision to relocate to India in 2008.

    After taking a trip to India a few years before, he and his wife were impressed by both the need for growth in rural areas, specifically economic development, and the collaboration among people eager for change. Chip says, “We wanted to help preserve what we have in the world, and find opportunities to help make it a better place.”Chip talked about his plans with Landau Associates’ management team, and they were very supportive as the company has a strong commitment and long track record of encouraging its employees to reach out, get involved, and give back to people and the environment.

    Landau Associates retained Chip on a part-time basis, allowing him to provide senior technical reviews for several projects from wherever his travels might take him.

    “It was a real win-win,” Chip explains. “The reduced salary was still enough to cover our expenses in India, but it also gave us enough flexibility in our schedule that we could commit our time and our energies to the community we were living in.”

    A new home

    Chip, his wife Sandy, and their three children packed up their lives here and moved 8,000 miles away to their new home in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, in the northern part of India. This small town is tucked away in the lower Himalayas at an elevation of 7,000 feet. All around them lay dense rainforest, thick with oak and pine trees and inhabited by exotic wildlife such as leopards and monkeys. Instead of clean paved roads and sidewalks, they trekked through muddy footpaths to get from place to place, sometimes sharing the same path as nomadic buffalo herders.

    Chip and his family didn’t set out with a clear plan for how they could make a difference in India. Opting against volunteer opportunities tied into any specific organization, they chose to simply go as tourists and help out wherever they could.

    After spending the first few months intensively studying Hindi, the opportunities to help came naturally. As they got to know people locally and became more immersed in the day-to-day living experiences in this small town, the opportunities grew and the needs became evident.

    Unstable water supply

    People in nearby villages were concerned and frustrated by the unstable water supply and asked Chip if there was a way they could recycle rainwater from their roofs. Chip taught them about the benefits of using sand filters to reduce water contaminants and provide potable water. He then designed several sand filters, which allowed them to harvest rain from the rooftop runoffs.

    Managing the water supply in India has been a significant struggle for hundreds of years. The state became the sole provider of water in the 19th century, which meant communities were no longer the primary agents of water provision and management.

    The use of rainwater and floodwater declined and in its place the state grew to rely on surface water, primarily rivers and groundwater. Over time, the usage level of river water has significantly depleted many of India’s river basins and led to considerable river pollution. The groundwater supply has been heavily over-used, leading to depleted resources.

    Overall water supply throughout India, in terms of quality and quantity, has declined to such an extent that in many parts, both rural and urban communities hang in a precarious balance, facing drought-like situations regularly.

    “Any time someone heard about my background in environmental engineering they were eager to learn more because the needs are so apparent in that part of India,” Chip says.

    Environmental regulation is in a relatively early stage there. Much of what’s happening with recycling, municipal waste management, and so on, is happening at a grassroots level. In Mussoorie, it is largely private citizens and schools introducing change and making improvements.

    Micro-hydroelectric options

    One of the interesting dialogues during their two years in India grew out of a chance introduction. While celebrating Christmas on the beach in Goa, more than 1,300 miles from Mussoorie, Chip met Scott Smith over dinner with mutual friends.

    Scott was just taking over as the director for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GTZ’s regional economic development program in Uttarakhand.

    Chip had backpacked through remote areas of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, places well off the electrical grid but with thriving village communities near creeks or small rivers. Chip had been giving a lot of thought into the potential for using micro-hydroelectric projects to provide power to those communities when he happened to meet Scott.

    With Scott working as the director for economic development in that region, he and Chip began to brainstorm about some overlapping elements of the economic and environmental fields.

    Micro-hydroelectric installations can produce up to 100 kilowatts of power for isolated and/or smaller communities. These installations offer these communities an economical way to access a form of renewable energy without needing to buy fuel. They produce no greenhouse gases and provide an alternative to other traditional energy sources that contribute to global warming. As such, hydroelectric projects can often qualify for the registration of carbon credits.

    Although an individual micro-hydroelectric power plant would be too small to warrant the effort of pursuing registration of carbon credits, Chip recognized an opportunity for the state to combine several individual projects into one larger project plan that could register carbon credits and sell them on the international market to help offset the costs of constructing the micro-hydroelectric plants.

    After that initial chance meeting, Chip and Scott had several follow-up conversations to consider how GTZ and the Uttarakhand government might implement such a program. Chip returned home to the U.S. before any solid plans were developed, but the idea was planted and there is hope that GTZ will continue moving forward with the plan.

    “We don’t always get the chance to see a plan carried out through its end,” Chip says. “Sometimes planting the idea and helping it get through its first formative stage is the only chance we get.”

    The Halbert family returned to the Puget Sound area in June and Chip is back working full-time in the Edmonds office of Landau Associates as the lead for air-quality permitting and risk assessment projects.

    The time that Chip spent in India brought with it new perspective and a renewed passion to his projects.

    “India is such an incredibly diverse place and its people are wonderfully resourceful,” he says. “Seeing that creative resourcefulness play out in daily life has really reinforced for me that there are so many different and viable solutions to any need at hand.”
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Water reforms and India's experiences


    WATER GOVERNANCE IN MOTION— Towards Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Water Law: Edited by P. Cullet, A. Gowlland-Gualtieri, R. Madhaw, U. Ramanathan; Foundation Books, 4381/4, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 875.

    This volume, based on select papers presented at two workshops — one held in Delhi in 2006 and the other in Geneva in 2007 — covers the process of reform in two water-related areas in India, namely the legal and institutional frameworks. It also brings in the international dimensions of water law reforms and relates India's experiences with those of countries such as Argentina, South Africa, and Australia.

    Organised in five parts, the book has 18 papers — the introduction apart — from 21 well-known scholars in their respective areas. The key point to be noted here is that most of the legal changes India has witnessed over the past few decades are in specific areas such as user organisation, groundwater, water pollution, water harvesting, and forest conservation. But, there is hardly any movement towards a comprehensive reform of water laws as such.


    The first part, which provides an overview of the ongoing reforms in water law, water policy, and water institutions, elaborately discusses the role of law in water management and in the evolution of the regulatory framework, besides examining the general water reforms in western India and the urban water reforms in Chennai. Reforms in relation to the three main sources of irrigation — canals, tanks and groundwater — are dealt with in the second part. If the issue of water rights in the context of water user association receives attention with respect to canal irrigation, the relevance of customary rights in water management is addressed in the case of tank irrigation. The legal issues surrounding the Plachimada dispute find a place in the chapter on groundwater.

    The privatisation of urban water is analysed in the third part both from the Indian and international perspectives. There is an attempt to evaluate the privatisation initiatives in Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) and the inter-sectoral allocation issues faced in Hyderabad city. On the global arena, the World Bank's influence on water supply initiatives in Argentina and the legal and economic ramifications of water as a service and as a commodity in the specific context of international investment law and the WTO regime are examined in detail.

    Environmental angle

    Water law reforms are looked at from the human rights and environmental angles in the penultimate part. While one paper shows how ‘green' water laws can strike a balance between the environmental conservation objective and the development imperatives and also protect the water resource base, another focusses on the role of cooperative governance as a way out of conflicts of interest as well as the legal complexities. In the light of South Africa's experience, issues related to putting in place a framework for the human rights to water and making it work are explored in two other chapters.

    In the concluding part, which provides a comparative perspective on water law reforms, the lessons to be drawn from the initiatives in Australia and key issues such as law and development discourse, and water policy regime, governance, rights, and justice are dealt with extensively.

    Clearly, the merit of this volume lies in that it throws considerable light on water law reforms, admittedly one of the less studied areas of water resource management in India. Also, the issues have been presented in a manner that will not only go well with researchers and policymakers alike but also render it accessible to the lay people who have a deep interest in the subject. From an academic viewpoint, it can be a good supplementary reading material for courses in environmental law, natural resource and environmental economics, and civil engineering. Overall, the publication is a welcome addition to the literature on water law in particular and water management in general.
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    World Bank cites Andhra water project for food security

    2010-08-31 22:20:00
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    With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, the World Bank has cited India's Improved Rural Community Water Project in Andhra Pradesh as a model for better water management.

    'Experience in Andhra Pradesh has shown that actions on the ground tailored with reforms have proven to be strong incentives in fostering the reform agenda,' says a review of the World Bank Group's water strategy released Tuesday.

    The Mid-Cycle Implementation Progress Report for the Water Resources Strategy - entitled Sustaining Water for All in a Changing Climate - calls for a more integrated approach to water management.

    'We can't properly tackle global priorities of food security, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change, public health, and urbanisation unless we manage water better,' said Julia Bucknall, water sector manager for the World Bank.

    India's Andhra Pradesh project 'successfully combines the three major targeting mechanisms' of geographic targeting and a number of use self selection and/or means tested targeting to increase their targeting effectiveness, the review notes.

    Building on the successes of reform in Andhra Pradesh, additional states have embarked with Bank support on reforming their irrigation; these include ongoing projects in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

    Additional initiatives have also burgeoned in neighbouring riparian countries, with emerging activity on the Indus Basin in Pakistan and river basin work in Nepal, the review notes.

    On the international water stage the launch of the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) aimed at supporting riparian countries on both international and national river basin issues is an important step forward, it says.

    In India, in urban water, the focus has been on sectoral reform building on ongoing good examples such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the review says.

    In hydropower, the reform process has also made progress through the energy agenda. Bank engagement has been consolidated in India with the financing of two major hydropower projects in Rampur (412MW) and Vishnugad Pipalkoti (444MW).

    In India, the initial reform in Maharashtra laid the groundwork for river basin institutions with adequate instruments for water regulation and allocation, it says.

    The pioneering work in Maharashtra has further stimulated other states in championing the basin approach with ongoing work on the Alaknanda River Basin and most recently the establishment of the Ganga National River Basin Authority in February 2009, the review noted.
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Water: The country’s inconvenient truth

    In recent years, India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies of the world. Most projections suggest that India is racing towards becoming the world’s third-largest economy by 2050. Water is one variable that could halt the country’s march to economic greatness.

    India’s inconvenient truth is that our country’s per-capita water availability has declined from 2,309 cu m in 1991 to below 1,700 cu m — the official waterstressed mark today. And if we do not change our ways dramatically, we are in real danger of becoming water-scarce , with per-capita availability nearing the 1,000 cu m by 2050, and our economic aspirations but a rude mirage.

    Most early civilisations developed around fresh water, which was essential for consumption , agriculture, commerce, transport, defence and other uses.

    Indeed, there are historical records to show that some civilisations and settlements perished or migrated, only because of sustained drop in water availability. Somewhere along the line, back then, we wrongly assumed, and were treating water as an infinite resource. We risk making the same mistake today.

    Rainfall is the main source of water in India, and we receive a substantial 4,000 billion cubic metres (BCM) annually. However, about 85% of this rainfall is confined to 4-5 months of the year, and varies widely from just 310 mm in the western belt, to a massive 11,400 mm in Meghalaya.

    This concentrated, yet uneven, rainfall leads to two major challenges: it causes floods as well as droughts at the same time. Rainwater needs to be captured and stored for future use, but we sorely lack storage capacity.

    Compared to developed countries that capture and store over 900 days of rainfall in major river basins, India captures just 30 days. Consequently , of the total precipitation, a mere 1,123 BCM of water is available for utilisation: 690 BCM in the shape of surface water, and 433 BCM as groundwater resource.

    While the supply of water has remained finite, the demand on water by all the consuming sectors has been increasing with our growing economy and population. As is the case in most emerging economies, agriculture uses about 80% of our water supplies, industry uses 8% and domestic consumption is 6%.

    There is excessive unregulated drawing of groundwater, leading to continuous depletion, as there is little effort to recharge it.

    Each water-consuming sector poses specific challenges. In agriculture, which is by far the biggest user, crop selection is perverse, with waterstressed areas growing water-intensive crops such as rice, wheat and sugarcane. Take rice, for instance.

    Can you guess how much water it takes to produce 1 kg of rice? 3,000 litres. Yes, 3,000 litres of water for each kilogram of rice. And India happens to be the largest producer of rice in the world. What’s more, the country ends up exporting up to 9.6 trillion litres of ‘virtual water’ , in years of surplus rice production!

    Water-saving agricultural technologies are available, but are not reaching our large and fragmented farmer population due to a lack of institutional mechanisms, among other reasons. Unfortunately, we lose a very high percentage of our agricultural produce before it reaches the market, owing to poor supply chain.When these food grains rot in our warehouses, what is lost is not only the opportunity of feeding so many more people — we also lose the water used in the cultivation of those food grains.

    While industry in India is still a modest consumer at 8%, it is growing at the fastest rate, thanks to our economic growth. One of the barriers to our economic growth, as we all know, is infrastructure and, specifically, power. What you may not know is that thermal power consumes as much as 88% of water used by industry. The engineering sector has the next highest consumption , with a 5% share.

    Even today, only 60% of the waste water generated by industry is treated. Credit where it is due: large industries today are becoming increasingly responsible. However, huge potential exists amongst all industry, especially small and medium enterprises, to adopt water conserving and water treatment technologies.

    The domestic sector has its own share of problems . The efficiency of water supply by municipalities in urban areas is less than 50%. Water supply lines not only leak due to poor infrastructure , they are also tapped illegally, and not all consumption points are metered.

    The per-capita consumption of water is growing rapidly in urban centres. The story in rural areas is quite the opposite: people don’t even have easy access to clean drinking water.

    Women walk miles in search of water, and children don’t go to school as they are forced to help their mothers in collecting water. The problem of water scarcity gets compounded as whatever water is available for potable use is infected, thus leading to waterborne diseases.

    It is estimated that 50% of our population doesn’t have access to sanitation and 37.7 million Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually.

    I am reminded of a famous speech given by Nelson Mandela in 2002 at the world summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. He said, “One of the many things I learned as president was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, the continent and the world.”

    Water sits at the nexus of food security, education , gender empowerment and global disease. How can we protect this valuable resource?

    The good news is that it definitely can be done — and indeed, has been done in several countries . The US was faced with a similar situation back in 1960s. Their efforts to improve water use efficiency resulted in per-capita water consumption dropping 20% between 1980 and 2000.

    On my recent visit to the Singapore International Water Week , I was amazed to see that they have been able to reuse 100% of their wastewater. What’s more, they are able to recycle 10% of the entire wastewater and convert it into fresh, potable water that they call NEWater.

    Here in India too, there are several outstanding examples of path-breaking work across the country on new initiatives and practices, driven by committed and passionate individuals and organisations , which are helping conserve, reuse and replenish water. And the solutions are simple.

    What we need to turn the tide and secure our country’s future is to convert these islands of excellence into oceans of change.

    The country’s inconvenient truth must be placed on the table and addressed as a burning platform , with a sense of urgency, and a whole new mindset in water management. We need to leverage technology, innovation, investments, collaboration and new learnings. We need to build capability on a massive scale.

    Most importantly, we need to set new rules and demonstrate a passion for breaking down the barriers to success, that have existed for decades. To solve the country’s looming water crisis, we need an unlimited supply of what I call ‘freshwater thinking’ .
    The unique thing about water is that every citizen — every citizen — including you and me, is a consumer of water. The need of the hour is for every Indian and every organisation to play their part in conserving, reusing and replenishing water. We owe it to our country. We owe it to our children.

    (The author is chairman of CII’s National Committee on Water , and chairman and CEO of PepsiCo India)
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Stop polluting Ganga or be ready to face the music, warns govt

    The government on Saturday warned the factories and tanneries, which discharge waste without treatment into the river Ganga, and said action to shut them would be initiated if they continue to do the same.
    "Ganga is getting polluted day-by-day. Nearly 170 factories and tanneries located between Kannauj and Varanasi, covering an area of 450 km, were found responsible for polluting the river by discharging wastes into it without treatment," Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh told reporters in Kanpur.

    "The government will issue show cause notices to these industrial units on August 30 and if they fail to take any action within 15 days, steps would be initiated to shut them," he said.

    The minister was in the city to participate in 'Ganga river basin management workshop' organised by IIT-Kanpur.

    Ruing over the inaction of state pollution control board in working towards cleaning the Ganges, Ramesh said the responsibility of making the river pollution free will now be entrusted upon the Central Pollution Control Board.

    "The government has launched an ambitious scheme of Rs 15,000 crore for the next 10 years to check pollution in Ganga. The fund would be shared by the Centre and state government on 70:30 basis," he said.
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Raids conducted on tanneries to check pollution

    PTI | 03:08 PM,Aug 02,2010
    Kanpur, Aug 2 (PTI) In a bid to check rising levels of pollution in the river Ganga, the Pollution Control Board conducted raids on eight tanneries here, an official said here today.Out of the eight units which were raided yesterday, one tannery's waste water treatment plant was found to be defunct and it was discharging its waste into the river Ganga, Pollution Control Board Regional Officer Radhey Shaym said.The tannery has been served notice and water samples from its premises have been sent to a Lucknow-based laboratory. If traces of pollution are found in the samples, strict action will be taken against the tannery and it will be sealed, he said.The other seven tanneries had waste treatment plants but they were found to be flouting other environmental norms for which warnings have been served to them, he said, adding the factory owners have been asked to keep their units clean in accordance with the environment norms.The officials of the pollution control board said more raids will be conducted on tanneries to prevent flouting of environment norms and prevent further pollution of the Ganga.Regional officer of Pollution Control Board Radheshyam told PTI that despite the warning given by Kanpur authorities to tanneries against discharging waste water into the Ganga and asking them to install treatment plants, they have not payed much attention.Even if treatment plants have been installed, many of them do not function properly, he said.All those tanneries who do not install waste water treatment plants as per the High Court ruling will be sealed, he said.Kanpur district authorities last month directed tannnery owners, who had not installed treatment plants, to shut down and shift their units from the city to Unnao.The small tannery association and UP leather association had condemned the administration's direction saying it will affect around 50,000 labourers working in their units. Members of the association said there is a conveyance system in the tanneries through which the polluted water goes to common effluent treatment plant (CETP) where it gets refined.
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Factory sealed for polluting Ganga

    KANPUR: The Pollution Control Board has sealed a factory at Tiwari Pur that discarded its polluted waste water into the Ganga.

    The dog food manufacturing unit was shut down by authorities because it polluted the Ganga with pieces of flesh and bones, used for manufacturing its products, officials said.

    The action was taken after receiving various complains that the factory discharged its waste material into open drains through which it entered the Ganga, Radheyshyam, district officer at the Pollution Control Board said.

    While raiding the unit, the officials found that it was full of filth, he said, adding, waste products were not disposed properly but thrown carelessly around the factory's premises and in open drains.

    A detailed report has been sent today to the district administration and action will be taken against owners of the unit after receiving further orders, he said.

    Authorities have been taking strict action against those industrial units which have been disposing their waste into the Ganga. About eight tanneries were raided and sealed last month in this connection, he said.

    Read more: Factory sealed for polluting Ganga - The Times of India Factory sealed for polluting Ganga - The Times of India
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Pollution in Ganga

    16:23 IST
    Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) is monitoring water quality of river Ganga at 39 stations which includes measurement of temperature of river water. Water quality data for temperature for last 15 years (1995 to 2009) does not show an increasing trend.

    The Water quality data indicates that river water quality conforms to the prescribed standards for bathing quality in terms of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) at most of the locations except for marginal deviations at a few locations between Kannauj and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

    Due to increase in industrial activity and urbanization, pollution load in Ganga has increased over the years. To address this problem, the Ministry, has been implementing the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in identified polluted stretches collectively with the concerned State Governments. Though, over the years, the water quality of river has shown improvement in terms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), a measure of organic pollution, the bacterial level in terms of fecal coliform, is found to be exceeding the prescribed standards at most locations, which may have adverse health implications.

    In February, 2009, the Central Government has constituted a National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, with the objective of ensuring effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.

    The Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh gave this information in a written reply to a question by Shrimati Kusum Rai in Rajya Sabha today.
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    This Yamuna will be pure and magnificent

    People would soon be able to see one of the most polluted rivers of the country, Yamuna, in its most beautiful manifestations of waterfalls, streams, rivulets, tributaries at most scenic spots of the country. The Uttarakhand Government in association with North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC)

    and other agencies has decided to capture the river Yamuna from its source in 'Yamunotri' (Uttarakhand) to the place where it ends in Allahabad-with the confluence of river Ganga-in a digitalised form as a documentary as well as book.
    The mega-project also involving Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is also expected to figure out the point from which the river Yamuna begins getting polluted to the place to where the pollution level is highest along with the description of places of historical and religious importance through which it passes.

    A group of noted academicians Prof HN Mishra, former Head, Geography Department Sahitya Academy award recipient Prof Hari Dutt Sharma, Prof SK Mishra of Kurushetra University, litterateurs Ashok Chakradhar and Urdu litterateur Bashir Ahmad Maukh have been selected to pen down the digitalised form of the journey of the river Yamuna into a book.

    Director, North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Anand Vardhan Shukla has on August 10 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cultural Ministry, Uttarakhand Government and ITBP in this context.

    "The mega-project will start on October and would be complete within a month. In the first phase, Yamunotri to Yamuna Nagar (Haryana) would be covered and in the second and last phase Yamuna Nagar to Allahabad will be covered," said Anand Vardhan Shukla, Director, NCZCC.

    He said few people know that a portion of the river passes through Himachal Pradesh.

    "The team of ITBP and ONGC will help in digitalising the portion of the river passing through rocky terrain and mountains through aerial routes. It is here that people would got to see the beauty the river possess and some unseen splendour of the river," added the Director.

    He also informed that the book and documentary which will be released in January has already have advance bookings of 500 copies from ONGC and ITBP people.
  18. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Navy, NDRF begin clean-up of river

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    Personnel belonging to the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Sunday launched clean-up of the Rayarom river at Alakkode which has been polluted by the dumping of a large quantity of pesticides.

    A 12-member team of Navy divers, who reached the area in the morning, joined a 28-member NDRF team to remove old bottles and packets of pesticides.

    The pesticides, whose expiry date was over, were taken from a local pesticides shop and dumped into the river on August 1. Six persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

    A.K. Gupta, a scientist at the Gwalior-based nuclear, biological and chemical emergency wing of the Defence Ministry, also reached the area to examine the level of water pollution caused by the mixing of the chemicals with the river water.

    Mr. Gupta collected water and soil samples from the river and the river bank at various points for chemical examination before the search for the pesticides began around noon.

    District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan held consultations with the scientist, the Navy and NDRF officials, and K.C. Joseph, MLA. K. Sudhakaran, MP, also visited the area.

    The Navy and the NDRF personnel formed three teams to identify the spots where the bottles and packets of pesticides were lodged in rocks under the water. The officials said the pesticides could have scattered in the strong undercurrents following heavy rain in the area in the past few days.

    The personnel were not able to remove a substantial quantity of pesticides till the afternoon, the officials said.

    Mr. Joseph said the services of the teams and the examination of the soil and water samples by Mr. Gupta were a solace to the local people who feared environmental and health hazards from the pesticides.

    The teams and the scientist would remain in the area till their tasks were completed. Water samples taken from the downstream of the river would be tested for pollutants.

    Efforts were under way for the safe disposal of the pesticides removed from the river-bed so far, he said.
  19. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Facilities soon to monitor quality of waterbodies

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    Testing stations proposed in Poondi, Red Hills, Porur, Pulicat
    : The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board plans to establish facilities to monitor the quality of water at waterbodies around Chennai.

    The testing stations, proposed in Poondi, Red Hills, Porur and Pulicat, will study the physiochemical and bacteriological parameters of the water.

    The Veeranam lake in Cuddalore district from where water is supplied to Chennai would also get a similar facility. The project would be taken up with funding from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

    This decision to extend the monitoring programme to more waterbodies follows a communication from the CPCB, asking the TNPCB to increase the number of monitoring stations. The TNPCB now monitors the water quality through 32 stations in Cauvery, Thamirabarani and Vaigai rivers and Kodaikanal, Udhagamandalam and Yercaud lakes.

    The Zonal Officer, CPCB, (South Zone) A.Manoharan said, “We have asked the TNPCB to add 50 more stations in water sources, including temple tanks, drinking waterbodies, borewells used for drinking water and also have additional stations in rivers.”

    Sources in the TNPCB said a proposal for setting up 23 out of the 50 stations had been submitted to the CPCB. The stations would monitor and record the quality of water for pollution control purposes.

    “Though the Chennai Metrowater supplies only treated water, we want to test the water that reaches the lakes from catchment areas as there could be discharge of industrial wastes or chemicals,” an official of the TNPCB said.

    Officials of Metrowater said samples of raw water from the reservoirs — Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam — is taken daily for quality check.

    The water samples, including from those the Veeranam lake, are tested for various parameters including total dissolved solids, turbidity and dissolved metals and salts. They are sent to the laboratories at the water treatment plants.

    Any additional monitoring by another government agency would be of help. Coordinated effort between Metrowater and other agencies would facilitate maintaining the quality of drinking water and prevent pollution, said an official of the water agency.
  20. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    UN Recognizes Access to Clean Water as a Human Right

    NEW YORK, New York, July 29, 2010 (ENS) - Access to clean, safe drinking water is now an official basic human right everywhere in the world, like the rights to life, health, food and adequate housing. The water rights resolution was approved late Wednesday by the United Nations General Assembly, not unanimously, but without opposition.
    Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the United Nations General Assembly declared Wednesday, voting to expand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include the right to clean water and sanitation.

    The 192-member Assembly called on United Nations member states and international organizations to offer funding, technology and other resources to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

    Introduced by Bolivia, the resolution received 122 votes in favor and zero votes against, while 41 countries abstained from voting.

    The text of the resolution expresses deep concern that an estimated 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people, 40 percent of the global population, do not have access to basic sanitation. About 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year because of water-related and sanitation-related diseases.

    Children draw water from a public well, Uganda, September 2009. (Photo by African Well Fund)

    "Diarrhea is the second most important cause of the death of children below the age of five," said Pablo Solon, Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, introducing the resolution. "The lack of access to drinking water kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined."

    The United States was one of the 41 countries that abstained from voting on this measure - not because the U.S. does not support the universal right to water, but because the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva is working on the issue in a better way, said John Sammis, U.S. deputy representative to the Economic and Social Council.

    "This resolution describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law; as there is no "right to water and sanitation" in an international legal sense as described by this resolution," Sammis said.

    "The United States regrets that this resolution diverts us from the serious international efforts underway to promote greater coordination and cooperation on water and sanitation issues," said Sammis.

    "This resolution attempts to take a short-cut around the serious work of formulating, articulating and upholding universal rights," he said. "It was not drafted in a transparent, inclusive manner, and the legal implications of a declared right to water have not yet been carefully and fully considered in this body or in Geneva."

    Unlike some, Germany views the text not as a threat to the European Union-led "Geneva process" on water and sanitation, but rather as another component of that process, said Ambassador Peter Wittig.

    Women carry water through a desert of stone chips in Madhya Pradesh, India. May 2010. (Photo by Rajib Singha)

    At the same time, Germany would have preferred that the text include more language proposed by the European Union, he said. It nevertheless included important elements of the work going on within the Human Rights Council and that of the Independent Expert on the subject. Germany invited delegations to support and participate actively in the Geneva process in order fully to understand the right to water and sanitation.

    The General Assembly resolution welcomes the UN Human Rights Council's request that Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, report annually to the General Assembly.

    De Albuquerque's report will focus on the principal challenges to achieving the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, as well as on progress towards the relevant Millennium Development Goals.

    The Millennium Development Goals, a series of targets for reducing social and economic ills by 2015, includes the goals of halving the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water and halving the number who do not have basic sanitation.

    Private water companies support the resolution to enshrine access to clean water and sanitation as a human right, according to AquaFed, the International Federation of Private Water Operators, representing 300 water companies serving hundreds of millions of people in 40 countries.

    "For private water operators, this global recognition is an important milestone. Our members and our Federation have been working actively with the United Nations and many other stakeholders for a decade to ensure that the Right to Water and Sanitation is recognized, that it is practical and can be implemented," said AquaFed President Gerard Payen.

    "Access to safe clean water and sanitation is truly vital," Payen said. "It is essential for life and necessary for health, education, dignity, gender equality, employment, social and economic development and quality of life."

    "The UN Member States have now to work on the implementation of this human right," said Payen. "They have to empower appropriate public authorities, clarify their obligations and make sure that they mandate capable field operators to make this right effective for people."
  21. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Soon, a special body to help clean up Ganga

    The state government is setting up a project management unit-cum-special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the implementation and monitoring of projects to be undertaken under the National Ganga River Basin Authority, following recommendations from the World Bank.
    The SPV — to be registered as a society — will be called the State River Conservation Agency (SRCA). The body will be headed by an IAS officer as Chairman while the Managing Director of UP Jal Nigam will be the Project Director. The members will include technical experts from private agencies and the Jal Nigam.

    “The process of appointment of the chairman and other members has been started and it will be functional very soon,” said Alok

    Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Urban Development.

    The SRCA will receive funds from the Centre and the state for Ganga cleaning projects. It will be empowered to form separate SPVs for the projects in different towns. It could also hire experts from private or public sector for technical support.On June 14, a team of World Bank representatives had met the state government officials and made a presentation regarding different funding methods and river cleaning projects. In that meeting, the World Bank team had recommended the formation of the SPV.

    Under the National Ganga River Basin Authority, the cleaning of Ganga has to be carried out in the cities it flows through. The Centre has taken Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi on priority as the river is most polluted in these towns. It has already approved a Rs 496 crore project for Varanasi and another Rs 305 crore project for Allahabad.

    “The World Bank and the Centre will release funds for both towns only after the constitution of SRCA,” said Alok Ranjan.

    Officials said projects worth Rs 403 crore for Kanpur, Rs 90 crore for Moradabad, Rs 44 crore for Garhmukteshwar and Rs 51 crore for Kannauj are also pending with the Centre for approval.

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