"Power firms lose Rs 2400 crores to water crisis"

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An NTPC thermal plant (Source: IWP Flickr Photos) An NTPC thermal plant (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Power firms’ loss due to water shortage is Rs 2400 crore this year: Greenpeace

According to the new report by Greenpeace titled, Water demands of coal power plants in drought affected regions of India, the country has lost almost seven billion units of electricity causing a revenue loss of Rs 2400 crore to the power firms in just the first five months of this year. The losses are attributed to the water shortage from the drought that has affected nearly 330 million people across 19 states. The worst affected coal-power plants have been the National Thermal Power Corporation at Farraka, Adani Power at Tiroda, GMR at Warora, Mahagenco at Parli and the Karnataka Power Corporation at Raichur. These power plants had to suffer repeated shut downs and cuts in electricity generation due to the lack of cooling water. 

ADB okays irrigation loan to TN and Odisha

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved loans of $100 million and $120 million to improve the irrigation and water management infrastructure in Tamil Nadu (TN) and Odisha respectively. In TN, the investment programme will focus on six major irrigation water channels in Vennar sub-basin of Cauvery Delta, while in Odisha, the selected areas are the Baitarani, Brahmani, Budhabalanga and Subernarekha river basins and parts of Mahanadi delta. In Tamil Nadu, the project will support both physical improvements and stronger water management of the Vennar irrigation network that is no longer able to meet the coastal community needs. In Odisha, the loan will be utilised for improving irrigation in over 1,00,000 hectares and strengthening of Water User Associations (WUAs) and the institutional capacity of Odisha's Department of Water Resources. 

Delay of Ken-Betwa project national crime: Uma Bharti

Terming the attempt to delay the ambitious Ken-Betwa project as a ‘national crime’, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has threatened to go on a hunger strike if the river-linking project is further delayed. The minister is firm on not reducing the height of the dam and has claimed that the project is going to benefit 70 lakh people in Bundelkhand and Marathwada while affecting just 7,000 people. She has also ascertained to save the tigers and the other animals of Panna Tiger Reserve along with the project-affected people if the environment nod is given to the project. The Ken-Betwa river-linking project was to take off in December last year. It got delayed as it is awaiting the wildlife clearance. 

CSIR all set to find groundwater hot spots

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is planning to take up a National Water Mapping Programme. The objective of the exercise is to find groundwater hot spots, map the structures, and measure salinity and other characteristics. Such a mapping exercise using helicopter-borne transient electromagnetic technologies has already been conducted by CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in six regions across India. As per the NGRI chief scientist, mapping of all the aquifers across the country will cost around Rs 12,000 crore over the span of 10 years. Post the mapping, a real time tracking of groundwater sources can be done which will help in preparing 3D map structure to show up to 300 metre beneath the surface. 

Vembanad sediments loaded with mercury

The investigation conducted by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) has found alarming levels of toxic heavy metals like mercury in the sediments on the floor of the Vembanad lake near the industrial belt in Kochi. The study that was confined to the northern arm of the lake at the Periyar region has revealed presence of mercury to be 20 times higher than the permissible limit at one of the survey points. The data, however, indicated that the mercury levels went negligible when proceeding towards the southern region. The experts have warned that the entry of heavy metals into humans through fishes can pose severe health hazards.

This is a roundup of important news updates from May 31-June 10, 2016. Also read last fortnight's policy matters update.

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