Summer of 2020 could suffer from severe water stress due to lockdown
As most of the municipal and panchayat administration are justifiably involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they are unable to focus on the water complaints that have started to pour in with the advent of summers. Moreover, this summer would be more challenging for all public authorities as potable water lines need to be running without a glitch as hand-washing is a critical factor to control the spread of coronavirus. Along with this, the lockdown has its implications for new municipal projects too.
The ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, to provide tap water to all, has also taken a backseat as the plans to carry forward the mission implementation have been deferred due to the lockdown.
With rise in temperature, live storage in 123 reservoirs declines: CWC
According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the rise in temperature has led to decline in live storage levels, from 57 percent of their total capacity in last month to 47 percent this month, of 123 reservoirs across the country. The data showed that at least three reservoirs — Tattihalla in Karnataka's Uttara Kannada district and Sholayar and Aliyar in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore district — have zero percent live storage. The 42 reservoirs in south India had the lowest overall storage of 35 percent, followed by north India at 48 percent, while the eastern, central and western regions had 56, 53 and 52 percent live storage, respectively. However, as per CWC's latest bulletin, all river basins have better than normal storage positions. (Down to Earth)
Has the lockdown made Ganga and Yamuna rivers cleaner? Centre to find out
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Central Pollution Control Board are expected to find out in ten days whether the lockdown had a measurable impact on the water quality of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. Water samples have been collected from Delhi (Yamuna) and all Ganga basin states, and are in the process of being analysed. Although river water quality monitoring was part of the routine, special focus would be placed on the impact of lockdown on the rivers this time, informed a senior NMCG official. He also added that measuring of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonium nitrate would point to whether the lockdown has had an impact. (The Hindu)
Parched Bundelkhand consuming 60 percent more water due to coronavirus, says study
According to a study by Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan, a voluntary group, the average water consumption per person has increased by more than 60 percent in urban areas of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh due to increased sanitisation concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The analysis is based on the rough estimates of water supply provided by Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and Jal Sansthans to the region. The pandemic has also affected the desilting and repair works of hand-pumps, ponds and reservoirs which is likely to lead to a severe water crisis in coming days in the parched region. (Deccan Herald)
Uri’s oldest power project is under threat thanks to illegal sand mining
The electricity department has informed that the 105 MW Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (LJHP) is in grave threat due to rampant illegal sand mining taking place near the project. Despite the imposition of ban orders and blockage of the passage leading to the project, the mining still continues on the riverbed which can lead to a catastrophic damage to the project anytime. An official of local administration has further informed that out of the seized sand worth Rs 22 lakh, the mafia has taken away Rs 15 lakh worth sand from the site, taking the advantage of COVID-19. (Hindustan Times)
This is a roundup of important news published between April 7 - 14, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.