Out of 9.45 lakh water bodies identified, 18,691 encroached upon, informs Jal Shakti Ministry
In response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Jal Shakti Ministry informed that according to the first census conducted on water bodies, 18,691 of the 9.45 lakh water bodies identified across 22 states and UTs have been encroached upon. As of now, the ministry noted that the data collection process for the first census is still under way, and that the entire process should be completed soon.
Tamil Nadu has reported the highest number of encroachments at 8,366 followed by Andhra Pradesh at 3,920 and Telangana at 3,032.
Out of 1.89 lakh hectares of water bodies targeted for repair, renovation, and restoration under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)-Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP) scheme, 1.32 lakh hectare have been restored, informed the ministry. (CNBC TV18, Deccan Herald)
Official data shows Ganga river health has improved in two stretches passing through Bihar and Uttarakhand
Official data shows that there has been significant improvement in the water quality of two polluted stretches of the Ganga river passing through Bihar and Uttarakhand, with the biological oxygen demand (BOD) being in check. Comparing 2015 and 2021 data, the BOD level of rivers flowing from Uttarakhand (Haridwar to Sultanpur) and Bihar (Buxar to Bhagalpur) is below 3 mg per liter, which falls in the unpolluted category.
While rivers flowing from Uttar Pradesh (Kannauj to Varanasi) and West Bengal (Triveni to Diamond Harbour) have BOD levels in the lowest category of pollution - category 5. During 2015, the BOD levels in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were in category 2 and category 3 respectively (7.8-27 mg per liter and 3.8-16.9 mg per liter, respectively). In West Bengal, however, not much improvement is noted between 2015 and 2021. (The Economic Times)
Bihar's groundwater is contaminated by chemicals, reports the Economic Survey
The 16th Bihar Economic Survey Report 2021-22 reveals that arsenic, fluoride, and iron contamination affects groundwater in 31 out of 38 districts, which poses a health risk for residents. In total, 30,272 rural wards are chemically contaminated and 4,742 rural wards situated in 14 districts along the Ganges are especially contaminated by arsenic, while 3791 rural wards in 11 districts and nine Kosi basin districts are contaminated with fluoride and iron.
In order to ensure safe drinking water for everyone, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has begun mixing surface and groundwater. In addition to this, the department also strengthened water quality monitoring and surveillance through a state-level National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratory (NABL).
Karnataka establishes India's first digital water data bank
In an effort to promote better water management, the Karnataka government has launched India's first digital water data bank, AQUARIUM, created by AquaKraft Group Ventures.
The Digital water data bank is a curated list of water data from all institutions and sources to provide insights and evidence from research and analytics thereby providing fundamental, reliable information to combat water pollution.
AQUARIUM also plans to serve as a center of innovation, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship that will train 10 lakh youth in water, sanitation, hydro-geological sciences, and data sciences. (Livemint)
Outstanding claims for natural disaster total Rs 1,705 crore in 2020-21: IRDA report
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India's annual report shows that the outstanding claims for natural disasters in 2020 and 2021 amount to 1,705.52 crore, with only 29.7 percent of the total claims settled. It includes super cyclone Amphan, severe cyclone Nisarga, very severe cyclone Nivar, and floods in Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. In most cases, outstanding claims are due to the failure of the insured to reinstate property, and in some cases, not having provided necessary documents owing to the lockdown.
As described in IPCC's Working Group II report, insurance claims associated with natural disasters in India are significant since access to insurance is one of the key adaptation strategies to deal with the severe consequences of climate change.
This is a roundup of important news published from March 3 – 22, 2022. Also read policy matters this fortnight.