August 17, 2007
Judge declares river dried up by diversion to LA revived
The city of Los Angeles has sufficiently restored
a stretch of river along the Sierra Nevada it siphoned off decades ago
by aqueduct and no longer has to pay fines of $5,000 a day, a judge
Inyo County Superior Court Judge Lee Cooper said the city has revived
a 62-mile section of the lower Owens River that was left essentially
dry in 1913 when its flows were diverted to the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
"I can now officially declare that the lower Owens River is a river,"
Water was directed back to the riverbed in December, marking a
concession in an infamous water war between Los Angeles and the valley
200 miles north of the city.
Ecologists said the revived river was making a remarkable recovery and
reported seeing birds, fish, and plants in the channel.
The judge had imposed the $5,000 fine per day in July 2005 when he
grew frustrated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s
long-delayed plan to restore the river.
During a hearing Wednesday, Cooper also approved an agreement between
the DWP, Inyo County officials, residents and environmentalists that
spells out requirements for the city to keep the water flowing. The
judge warned he would impose fines under the deal if the city didn’t
meet its obligations.
"The restoration of the river has been a long-term goal of Inyo County
and we are heartened that river’s recovery is well under way," Jim
Bilyeu, chairman of the county’s board of supervisors, said in a
Source: U.S. Water News Online, July 2007
May 25, 2007
CSE invites you to a two-day media briefing workshop to understand the condition of India’s rivers, examine existing river cleaning programmes, learn from them, and discuss strategies that could bring our rivers back to life. The
Yamuna river will be taken as a representative case. The workshop will bring together river pollution experts, civil society representatives and government officials to debate and demystify key issues.
Date: June 14-15, 2007
Venue: India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
- The workshop is only open to journalists and media professionals
- Seats are limited. We have the resources to support the travel and accommodation of a few candidates on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, please apply immediately
To apply, e-mail/fax your resume to:
Shachi Chaturvedi <email@example.com>
Last date for applying: June 1, 2007
For more information >>
March 09, 2007
November 25, 2006
The Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments are at loggerheads over the 100-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala's Idukki district.
Tamil Nadu wants the water level in the dam raised to route more water to five of its southern districts, a demand upheld by the Supreme Court. But Kerala says, the aging dam cannot withstand the pressure and invited a Navy diving team to check the dam's
structural integrity. But the decision has angered Tamil Nadu .
Tamil Nadu plans to increase the height of the dam from the present 136 metre to 142. It also wants to raise the height of an associated dam to 152 metre. However, Kerala says that the dam is too old and can't stand any more pressure.
October 17, 2006
"Yury Trutnev, Russia's natural resources minister said, Russia is still in two minds about whether to revive a controversial Soviet-era plan to divert Siberian rivers to the arid Central Asia." (MOSCOW, October 12 RIA Novosti)
European Union directive defines every water catchment area as a distinct management unit and rules out water transfers from one area to another. On the 18th of June, 2004 Spain repealed the project to divert water from the river basin, that had been included
in the Hydrological Plan pushed forward by the previous Popular Party government and justified by the lack of water in some areas of Spain.
In China, Three Gorges Dam Project is about to be complete. After the rise in water level, the estimate of displaced may cros 1.4 Million People.
September 09, 2006
Ramaswamy Iyer, former chief secretary in the water resources ministry said that there is an inherent conflict of the flood control objective with the other objective of trying to maximize hydro-power and irrigation in dams.
Iyer said while flood control demands that dams allow adequate space to receive flood flows, the objective of maximizing hydro-power potential means that water level in dams is kept as high as possible.
''As there is greater pressure to increase power generation, the objective of flood control gets lesser attention. This can lead to a situation when water has to be released suddenly on a large scale leading to disastrous flash floods,'' he said. Iyer added
that the changing pattern of monsoon has put the last nail in the coffin of that fraudulent Interlinking of Rivers proposal, as those basins identified as "deficit" by National water development Authority have witnessed floods while those that have been marked
as "surplus" have shown shortfall."
( Quoted in a meeting on flash floods and dams organized by Intercultural resources in collaboration with South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People )
August 31, 2006
"Almost every year, floods ravage various states. According to news reports in most of the cases, the flood disaster has been caused by panic release of water from dams since inflow to the reservoir was very high. Maharashtra and Gujarat, both hit by floods
this year, together have more than half of the country's 4,500 large dams, so it is a moot point whether dams provide protection from flood.
Flood, a natural phenomenon, becomes a disaster when large quantities of water arrive very quickly or do not recede quickly. Rainwater comes too quickly either because of unprecedented rainfall and/or due to deforestation that causes very fast arrival of water
in the main rivers. A large dam can "control" flood only if the reservoir has sufficient empty capacity to absorb the sudden arrival of water. But in practice, reservoirs are never emptied in anticipation of flood because water from the reservoir is required
for irrigation or power generation. (If it is a low rainfall year
and the reservoir is empty, the flow will merely fill the reservoir and the downstream river will get no water at all). When the flood does arrive, the sluices are opened to save the dam and people, assured of protection from flood, who have occupied the flood
plain below the dam, suffer because of the sudden release of water from the reservoir.
Thus, while large dams may offer flood management advantages in a limited temporal or spatial context, they also create larger magnitude problems that are not generally recognized. Flood management and the performance of India's large dams for flood "control",
irrigation and power generation over the past few decades needs urgent and transparent review."
-Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd) is a military engineer holding a PhD in Structural Engineering from I.I.T., Madras.
E-mail: sgvombatkere@hotmail. com
August 31, 2006
Barney Flynn, a former prune and almond grower, used his experience as a farmer and businessman to come up with an inventive way to help California farmers transform unprofitable land, save endangered wildlife, boost the local economy, and
provide flood control - all at the same time.
In 1998, after years of experiencing the annual flooding of farm land from breached levees, Flynn co-founded River Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps farmers navigate state regulations and craft deals to restore flood-prone riverfront acreage
as habitat for wildlife, much of it endangered, while providing a sustainable flood-control alternative to levees and dams. River Partners also implements the restoration plans, pioneering the use of modern agricultural techniques to cut the costs of river
restoration. To date, River Partners has restored about 4,000 acres and planted 510,000 native trees and shrubs.
Visit http://www.riverpartners.org/ for more on this.
July 21, 2006
EVERYTHING about this controversial project is low-key. The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first link in a series of projects to build dams and canals between 30 of India's rivers, major and minor. In August 2005, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh signed a
Memorandum of Understanding for starting work on the canal to link the Ken and Betwa rivers.
The 427-km long Ken river rises in Madhya Pradesh, flows through the State for 292 km and then joins the Yamuna at Chilla in Uttar Pradesh. The districts of Chatarpur and Panna in Madhya Pradesh and Bandha in Uttar Pradesh depend on it for water via a network
of weirs and canals built a century ago. According to the MP irrigation department, these have all been declared defunct, having outlived their utility.
The Betwa is another tributary of the Yamuna that also rises in the same region as the Ken and flows north through MP for 232 km. It joins the Yamuna at Hamirpur in UP, upstream of the Ken. This is the larger of the two rivers.
The link proposal suggests building a 230-km-long canal to transfer 1020 million cubic metres (mcm) of surplus water from the Ken to the Betwa river. The canal will originate at the Daudhan dam, to be constructed a few kilometres upstream of two existing
(defunct) weirs. In addition, there will be four more dams. All of these will be built in the Panna National Park and will submerge a large part of this protected area.
The project will irrigate an estimated 3.7 lakh hectares of additional land, give 3.3 lakh people drinking water and generate 66 MW of power. It is estimated to cost Rs. 8,500 crore. 8.650 Ha of land submerged by the dams and the canal. The canal will be
linked to existing tanks and ponds en route to its destination to the Barwa Sagar, an old reservoir on a small stream near Jhansi that empties into the Betwa river. In addition to rains, Bundelkhand has a rich history of tank irrigation. The Chandelas and
later rulers built a network of large and small tanks by walling up streams, drains and rivers over the last millennium. These are largely functional even now and in many towns and villages are the main source of water for drinking, washing and irrigation.
Some are large enough to be used for fishing. Most hold enough water to last a couple of years without good rainfall. Most places along the likely route of the canal are already well irrigated by these tanks and other small rivers in the region, including
the Dhasan river. The canal is supposed to feed some of these tanks, while draining others.
The entire stretch that the canal is to pass through is hilly and very rocky. The land slopes from south to north and from east to west. All the rivers and underground aquifers flow in this general direction. The canal will block this natural flow of water,
leading to waterlogging in the southern part of the region. It will reduce water availability to the north. The canal also has to cross the Dhasan river. All this will make its construction a contentious and environmentally destructive activity.
In order to recover the construction costs, the project proposes to charge for the use of water, based on the crop grown per Ha. In order to pay these charges, farmers will have to change their cropping pattern to cash crops. Small and marginal farmers will
get edged out in the process.
Rajendra Parmar, who farms some 10 Ha outside Nowgong near Chatarpur, is sceptical about the canal. The land, he says, is very well irrigated with tanks, canals and tube wells. The extra water will only cause waterlogging.
Further, both the rivers flow through the same part of the country. They flood at the same time. The Betwa enters the Yamuna upstream of the Ken. If the Ken's waters are added to the Betwa, there will be regular floods along the section of the Yamuna between
Hamirpur and Chilla. Conversely, says Dr. Prakash, there will be droughts immediately downstream of Chilla. The project will not mitigate floods or droughts; it will exacerbate them.
There are enough examples of drought mitigation at the local level around the country. However, the drawback from the government and industry's perspective is that these are driven by local communities and do not benefit either babudom or industrialists.
A mega project is a feast for bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen. This alone will be sufficient reason to go ahead with river linking despite objections and agitations by local people.
Hindu Sunday magazine
July 03, 2006
"There has been a proposal from the Centre to interlink the Teesta, Sankosh and Manas rivers in North Bengal and link it with the Ganga. The objective is to ensure a good supply of water to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan," said Subhash Naskar,
state minister for water resources and irrigation.
However, the state government has decided to oppose the proposed interlinking of the three rivers on two grounds.
First, West Bengal will be deprived of the necessary and adequate water supply for irrigation if the interlinking project materialises.
"This will inevitably jeopardise the agricultural production of the state," said Naskar.
Moreover, the state government apprehends that the proposed interlinking could lead to the destruction of the elephant corridors near the forest areas in North Bengal.
"A number of factors have come into play. Environmental blunders could be a possibility but what one first needs to look at is who the project will serve, how it will be undertaken and whether it is feasible at all," said VK Yadav, Deputy Chief Wildlife
Warden, West Bengal.