Number of water-related crimes double in India: Report
As per the latest National Crime Records Bureau report, the number of water dispute cases registered under the Indian Penal Code have doubled from 432 in 2017 to 838 in 2018. Maharashtra and Bihar, the two states that have suffered severe drought in recent years, have witnessed the maximum number of water disputes. Further, as many as 93 cases of murder were reported from across the country, a majority of them in the drought-affected states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
According to Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), "When water scarcity increases, conflicts go up and it can be inter-sectoral, community level and between urban and rural areas."
(The New Indian Express)
Gujarat tops in hydrology project review, while Kerala improves its ranking from 13 to 8
In the latest review of the national hydrology project, the water resources department of Gujarat and Damodar Valley Corporation have secured first and second ranking while Rajasthan was placed at the third position.
In the ranking of around 44 agencies, Kerala has shown remarkable improvement by rising to the 8th spot in the surface water category from 13th in the previous assessment.
Moreover, the state ranks above states like Andhra Pradesh, that place a lot of importance on irrigation and farming. The rankings are based on criteria such as assessment of annual rainfall and water flow in rivers, real-time data collection, conduction of training programmes and data digitisation. (The Times of India, The Hindu)
Leachate from Okhla landfill is polluting groundwater in neighbouring areas
As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), highly toxic leachate released in all seasons from south Delhi's Okhla landfill is contributing to water pollution in neighbouring areas such as Tekhand and Tughlaqabad within a 2-5 km radius. The study has found that the leachate pollution index (LPI) for Okhla landfill was 27 in pre monsoon season, 23.8 in monsoon and 43.13 in post monsoon season as against the standard leachate of 6.8, due to dumping of unsegregated waste. Moreover, the groundwater quality assessment for Okhla borewell, Tekhand and Tughlaqabad has shown that water samples in these regions have a high pollution load and are unsuitable for consumption. (Hindustan Times)
Wular Lake reclamation: J&K to cut over 20 lakh trees while experts advise caution
To reclaim the shrinking Wular Lake spread across north Kashmir’s Bandipore and Baramulla districts, the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) has embarked on a project to cut over 20 lakh trees. In the first phase, two lakh trees will be cut. The project has been initiated on the basis of a 2007 report by Wetlands International South-Asia, that suggests removing all trees from inside the lake boundary. However, as per the experts, cutting trees in such large numbers should be done only after conducting a proper ecological impact study. (The Indian Express)
Irrigation reduces rainfall in northern India, finds new model-based study
According to a new study, conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, irrigation results in a drop in temperatures over heavily irrigated parts of India such as in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, that causes a cooling effect and in turn leads to reduction in the overall summer monsoon rainfall over the region. The study used a global atmospheric circulation model coupled with a land surface model and a slab ocean model to simulate the impact of a range of irrigation possibilities. The new study is highly useful as it helps confirm that irrigation may be an important regional climate influence in South Asia. (Mongabay India)
This is a roundup of important news published between January 9-13, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.
Lead image source: Sourabh Phadke in CONRADIN, K., KROPAC, M., SPUHLER, D. (Eds.) (2010): The SSWM Toolbox. Basel: seecon international gmbh.