India could witness near-normal monsoon this season: IMD
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that this year, the rainfall in the four-month season from June to September is likely to be 96 percent of the 50-year average of 89 cm with a model error of +/-5 percent. As per IMD, there is a 39 percent probability of normal rainfall, 32 percent probability of below normal and 17 percent probability of deficient rains. There are low chances of the monsoon rainfall being above normal or in excess. However, IMD officials did not completely negate the risk of weak El Nino conditions, a weather phenomenon linked to below normal rains and drought, prevailing over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Namami Gange wins accolade at the Global Water Summit
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has been felicitated with the coveted Public Water Agency of the Year award at the Global Water Summit, a major business conference for the water industry worldwide. The Global Water Awards recognise excellence across the entire international water industry and reward those initiatives in the water, wastewater and desalination sectors which bring remarkable improvements to the lives of people. The Namami Gange programme, an integrated mission for Ganga rejuvenation launched in 2014, has a comprehensive multi-sector intervention with multi-stakeholder involvement and adopts a basin-based approach.
Narmada turned into a seasonal river in Gujarat, say activists
The Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, a Vadodara-based non-profit, has alleged that in its last 161 km, the Narmada river has been converted into a seasonal one from being a perennial river. Moreover, the river in this stretch carries seawater with some industrial pollutants and untreated sewerage and has high chemical oxygen demand (COD), total dissolved solids (TDS) and low dissolved oxygen (DO). Also, the groundwater near the stretch has deteriorated. The Samiti has held the state government and environment ministry responsible for the poor condition of the river and blamed various completed and upcoming projects on the river for diminishing flow of the river downstream.
Study shows damming of Mhadei affects fish breeding
A study has highlighted that the coming up of a chain of check dams called vasant bandharas on the Mhadei river to meet Goa's water needs during the summer months is impacting the breeding of various indigenous fish. At various sites along the Mhadei river, which were earlier known for indigenous fish, a decline in fish yield is observed as the check dams have stopped the natural flow of the river, thus disrupting fish migration patterns and breeding. Even in Karnataka, the environmentalists have raised a red flag and blamed the chain of dams across the Sharavathi and its tributaries. It has also been revealed that the water resources department constructed the check dams without any environment impact assessment.
With a loss of nearly 70 percent of the water spread, Chennai is in serious water crisis
A study of comparative maps and satellite images has found that Chennai and its surroundings have lost almost 70 percent of the water spread area, a situation which could leave areas dependent on water tankers and sources other than piped supply in deep crisis in the coming months. The satellite images have revealed that the lakes in Velachery, Pallikaranai, Ambattur and other areas are contaminated and encroached while the lakes in Kancheepuram and other nearby areas are being over-exploited for irrigation. However, the officials in the public works department and Metrowater have blamed the failure of the northeast monsoon and evaporation of water for the crisis.
This is a roundup of important news published between April 10-16, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.