Jal Shakti ministry formed by merging water ministry and drinking water ministry
The government has launched the new Jal Shakti ministry by merging the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been appointed as the minister of Jal Shakti that has been constituted in line with BJP’s Sankalp Patra for the 2019 General Elections. The aim of the new ministry is to provide clean drinking water as well as fight water woes in the country. The ministry will also be responsible for tackling international and inter-states water disputes and carry forward the Namami Gange project. However, as per the experts, the ministry has a fairly wide ambit and rather than restructuring the existing system, there is a need to redefine the role and mandate of the water ministry.
Release 9.19 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu in June: Cauvery authority to Karnataka
Taking note of monsoon prediction and the storage level in the Cauvery basin reservoirs, the Cauvery Water Management Authority has directed Karnataka to release 9.19 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu in the month of June. As per the authority, the order will not have any immediate negative impacts on Karnataka as the state's reservoirs of Cauvery basin have satisfactory water storage and monsoon is also expected in the first or second week of June. The order is subject to change based on the arrival of monsoon or if the state receives less than normal rainfall in June. The Karnataka government has no objection to releasing water provided there is good monsoon and sufficient water in reservoirs.
NGT bans RO systems if TDS less than 500 mg/l
Taking into account the joint report from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and IIT-Delhi, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the environment ministry to notify prohibiting the use of reverse osmosis (RO) systems for drinking water in areas where the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) is less than 500 milligram/litre (mg/l). The joint report came down heavily on the misinformation campaign run by RO manufacturers who promote RO utility for removal of multiple pollutants, although the application of RO is primarily limited to removal of TDS.
NGT slaps fine over pollution in Ganga river
The National Green Tribunal has slapped a penalty of Rs 25 lakh each on the governments of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal for inaction over continued damage to Ganga river. The tribunal has noted that Bihar made no progress in clean-up of the Ganga river as not a single sewage infrastructure project has been completed in the state. Even in West Bengal, only three out of 22 projects have been completed. The progress made by Jharkhand is also not adequate. The tribunal has also ordered Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to ensure zero tolerance approach to the pollution of Ganga river and take stern action against violators.
Rainwater harvesting in Delhi: NGT orders study of recharge methodology
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the committee, comprising representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), to take groundwater samples and study the methodology of recharging it. The order has come following a petition that alleged the usage of non-scientific methodology by various authorities in Delhi to recharge the groundwater through rainwater harvesting. This has also resulted in pollution of groundwater in the capital. The NGT has asked the committee to submit its reports within a month.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 29 - June 4, 2019. Also, read news this week.