30 out of 100 cities to face greatest rise in water risks by 2050 are Indian: Report
According to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Risk Filter analysis, “unless urgent action is taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change”, 100 cities that are home to 350 million people and are important in national as well as global economies are set to face the greatest rise in water risks by 2050.
While half of the 100 cities are in China, the list also includes 30 Indian cities which are under 'very high' and 'high' risk categories. Rapid urbanisation, climate change and lack of appropriate infrastructure are the reasons that could lead to acute water shortage in Indian cities, says the report. However, nature-based solutions like restoration of urban watersheds and wetlands could offer solutions.
India performs poorly in global hunger index
With a score of 27.2 this year, India stood at 94 among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020. Though India’s scores have improved consistently, the country continues to be in the serious hunger category. The report further informs that 14 percent of the country population is undernourished and 37.4 under five children have been found to be stunted with a wasting rate of 17.3 percent. In contrast, India's neighbours including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan though in the serious category, rank better than India while Nepal and Sri Lanka are positioned in the moderate hunger category. (The Hindu, The Times of India)
UN report calls for increased investment in early warning systems
As per the State of Climate Services 2020 Report: Move from Early Warnings to Early Action, released by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), extreme weather and climate events have increased in frequency, intensity and severity as a result of climate change, hitting vulnerable communities disproportionately hard. The situation is particularly acute in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The report underscores the need to improve the implementation and effectiveness of early warning systems to reduce the impacts of disasters globally, urging people and businesses to act early. (Livemint)
Heavy rainfall cripples Hyderabad with at least 37,409 families affected
On October 18, record rains and heavy flooding resulted in the death of 33 people along with affecting 37,409 families in Hyderabad. The city’s losses are estimated at Rs 670 crore. As high as 324.5 mms rainfall poured in the city and its outskirts in just 24 hours making it equivalent to a month’s rain in a single day. The encroachments of lakes, natural waterways and stormwater drains are being blamed for the deluge. In the aftermath of the flood, the state government has set up a special wing within the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to study city drainage system and identify critical narrow points and encroachments. (The Indian Express, The Times of India)
Goa becomes the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ state
By successfully providing 100% functional household tap connections (FHTCs) in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households, Goa has become the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ state in the country, informs the Jal Shakti Ministry.
The state has been successful in earning itself the unique distinction by efficiently utilising the benefits of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) which aims to improve the quality of life and bring 'ease-of-living' to rural communities.
The state now plans for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system to monitor the functionality of water supply. (DNA)
CWC to take up sedimentation study at major reservoirs
With an aim to assess the change in the storage capacity of major reservoirs across the country as well as to determine their life expectancy, the Central Water Commission (CWC) plans to take up their sedimentation studies. The project, which has received funding from the World Bank, has listed 32 reservoirs in different states for examining the level of sedimentation and its effects. Sedimentation is the process of accumulation of silt on the reservoir bed and it reduces the storage capacity of the reservoir and has detrimental effects on the dam’s intended benefits. (The Tribune)
All major dams full in Marathwada owing to record rainfall
This year’s record rainfall in the region has led to all the 11 major dams in Marathwada being almost filled to the designed storage capacity. The cumulative storage in these reservoirs was the highest in the last 15 years. Along with the major dams, the 75 medium dams in the region have 92 percent live storage whereas 752 minor dams are holding 80 percent water. Although, the excess rainfall has destroyed kharif crops in many areas, the available stock is expected to produce bumper season of rabi crops. (The Times of India)
Intensive irrigation coupled with human-induced high temperature worsens moist heat stress: IIT study
According to a multi-national study led by IIT Gandhinagar, high humidity from intensive irrigation, combined with high temperatures induced by human activity worsens moist heat stress in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Heat stress is a health condition in which high temperatures results in the inability of human body to cool itself and the moist heat stress emerges from humidity and is more closely associated with mortality in India. The study which used in situ and satellite data, found that intensive irrigation increased the water content in the layers of air closest to the surface leading to rise in moist, humid heat which is more difficult to combat compared to dry heat. (The Print)
Discarded masks and gloves make way to oceans
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the rise of consumption of single-use plastic products like masks and gloves which are being discarded on beaches, ocean beds and urban water bodies due to inadequate biomedical waste treatment plants and an ineffective waste disposal system. In Tamil Nadu, the generation of biomedical waste from a government hospital bed has gone up to 3-5 kg/day from around half a kg/day. In 2018, India joined the Clean Seas Campaign of UNEP. Under the scheme, the country’s goal was to frame a National Marine Litter Policy whose work has been stalled due to lockdown. (Mongabay India)
Telangana’s water table improves thanks to abundant rains
During the end of October, the state received 53 percent more rains that helped its groundwater levels to rise significantly. On an average, the groundwater levels in the state at the end of October stood at 4.22 metres below ground level (bgl). Twenty four out of 33 districts in the state reported groundwater levels at 5 m bgl, eight districts between 5m to 10 m bgl and one district above 10 bgl. The net rise in the groundwater level is 3.7 m as compared to the same period last year while a net average rise of 7.06 m rise has been observed during October in comparison to May this year. The decadal average for the month of October shows that 92 percent of the total mandals in the state registered a rise in the range of 0.05 to 21.96 m while the rest observed a fall in the range of 0.03 to 20.52m. (The Hindu)
This is a roundup of important news published between October 6 – November 5, 2020. Also, read policy matters this month.