Maharashra issues water advisory for Holi

News and policy matters this week
Holi being celebrated (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Holi being celebrated (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reservoir levels dip, Maharashtra urges people to celebrate dry holi

Per the Central Water Commission weekly data, the storage availability at 91 major reservoirs in the country is at a mere 29% of their total storage capacity which is far below the average level of the last 10 years. Maharashtra, which is reeling under a terrible water crisis, has given strict orders to people to not waste water for rain dances during Holi. Even the municipalities have been ordered not to provide water to swimming pools during the festival. In drought-prone Latur, the water crisis is so bad that prohibitory orders of assembly of 5 or more people near wells and water filling points have been imposed to avoid violence over water shortage. 

Unseasonal rains and hailstorm destroy rabi crop across six states

Damage to rabi crops like wheat, mustard and chickpea have been reported across Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra due to unseasonal rain and hailstorm over the past few days. The extent of damage in still unclear as the state governments have to assess and collate the data on the crop loss. However, the damage is expected to be less than last year as this year the sowing of wheat was lower by 3%, compared to the normal sowing area.

Centre revises plastic waste management rules and fly ash notification

The Environment Ministry has recently notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Per the notification, the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from 40 microns to 50 microns. Also, the rules are not just limited to municipal areas but extends to all villages. Along with this, the Ministry has also revised the fly ash notification by granting permission to use it for agriculture. It has been made mandatory for power plants to give fly ash free of cost to users within a 300 km radius.

Communities come together to fight water crisis

Thousands of villagers in Kerala and Karnataka joined hands to construct a makeshift check-dam across the Kabini river on the Kerala-Karnataka border to tackle a drought-like situation in the region. The Kabini is the only source of water for these people, but due to reduced water flow in the river and non-operational check-dams constructed by the Government, residents came together to fight the acute water shortage in the region. In an another report, 5000 villagers in Madhya Pradesh joined hands to dig 2-feet deep trenches along a hill slope that can collect 15 crore litres of water. 

SC stops Punjab from levelling the Sutlej-Yamuna link, but the latter is set to defy orders

Post the State Assembly resolution on land rights being passed, Punjab farmers started taking possession of their land acquired for the construction of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal. However, the Haryana Government opposed the levelling of the acquired land and sought the Supreme Court's intervention. The latter has directed that status quo be maintained on land meant for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal. But the Punjab Government has announced that it will defy the Supreme Court's order and stated that it will not allow the SYL canal to be constructed at any cost. 

This is a roundup of important water news and policy matters from March 15 - 21, 2016.

Lead Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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