Worst drought in 115 years hits Kerala

News this week
Parched land during drought in India. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Parched land during drought in India. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Kerala hit by worst drought in 115 years

With 61 percent shortfall in rains from the north-west monsoon this year, Kerala has been hit by one of the worst droughts in 115 years. Owing to this water crisis, the Kerala state disaster management authority (KSDMA) is planning to impose a water rationing system across households and industries in the state. Even the groundwater scenario is moving from bad to worse as the state’s topography hardly helps in retaining any of the water that falls on the ground. The water crisis is also impacting the state’s power sector.

Jhelum level drops to its lowest in six decades

It has been just two years since a deluge that covered much of Kashmir in water but the state is facing the longest post-monsoon dry spell in more than 40 years resulting in Jhelum's water dipping to its lowest. This year, the valley received just 3.6 mm of rain from October to December as against the average of 100 mm of rain. The reason for the low rainfall is the frequency and the intensity of western disturbances that has not been very strong this year. 

Implementation of Uttarakhand’s eco-sensitive zone is yet to take off 

Three years since the Uttarakhand flash floods, the implementation of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) is yet to take off. The implementation, which is already running late, may get further delayed due to the differences in opinion between the water and the environment ministries over the provisions of the zonal master plan for its implementation. The points of concern are the provisions with respect to the construction of hydropower projects with a capacity of over 2 MW, riverbed mining and the change of land use. 

MP and Rajasthan plan to construct spillway

The Madhya Pradesh and the Rajasthan governments are planning to construct a 40-km long spillway to discharge excess water from the Gandhi Sagar dam into the Aahu river in the latter’s Jhalawar district. The project has been planned following the recommendation of Central Water Commission to ease pressure on four old dams--Gandhi Sagar dam, Rana Pratap Sagar dam, Jawahar Sagar dam and Kota Barrage of Chambal river basin. 

Proposed Yelahanka power plant a bane for Bengaluru

The multi-crore power plant of the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited, Yelahanka could severely damage the Jakkur lake as the treated sewage water that maintains the water level in the lake would be diverted to the plant. Also, it has been informed that if the Jakkur lake runs out of water, it will have a cascading effect on the Rachenahalli and Nagawara lakes downstream. The Rs 1,561-crore 370MW power plant will receive 10 MLD of treated water initially and 15 MLD after it becomes operational.

This is a roundup of important news from December 25, 2016 - January 1, 2017. Also, read the policy matters this week