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VAK's Engagement with Water Issues > What's been in the Newspapers > February 2009
"BMC unveils sober budget", 4th February 2009, The Times of India

Middle Vaitrana Dam tops the to-do list: With the water crisis looming large over Mumbai, the BMC has increased its budget provision in this department, from Rs 2,196 crore (last year's funds) to Rs 2.352 crore. The corporation has made a provision of Rs 250 crore for the construction of the dam, and work is expected to start in October this year. However, the date of completion has been postponed from 2011 to Aptil 2012. The civic body is also planning to improve the water distribution network within the city, and has budgeted Rs 193 crore for the laying of 83km of new water pipelines.

Working towards a flood-free city: This year's budget has focused on the improvement of storm water drains to minimise water logging. Construction of storm water pumping stations has been proposed at various locations including Britannia Outfall, Gazdarband, Mogra Nalla and Mahul Creek.

"River interlinking to end city's water woes", 7th January 2009, The Asian Age

The Maharashtra and Gujarat governments will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on February 16 regarding two river interlinking projects that would end Mumbai's water woes. Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Union water resources minister Saifuddin Soz will sign the MoU in New Delhi. After the MoU is signed, a survey will be undertaken for two more priority river links namely "Par-Tapi-Narmada" and "Damanganga-Pinjal," a statement issued by the office of Maharashtra chief minister said.

The Par-Tapi-Narmada link proposes to transfer surpluses available between Par and Tapi to water deficit areas in north Gujarat. It will transfer 1,350 MLD of water through a 401 km long canal. Around 460 MLD water will be used for the irrigation of 1.63 lakh hectares in Gujarat and 190 MLD for meeting the transmission losses. In addition to this, about 700 MLD will also be provided to Saurashtra and Kutch areas of Gujarat. Besides this, there is also provision for generation of about 32.5 MW of power.

"BMC plans drive against illegal water connections", 8th February 2009, Free Press Journal

The areas like Shivaji Nagar, Bainganwadi, Govandi are notorious for huge water thefts and the civic body has not been able to prevent it till now. Most of illegal connections in this vicinity are commercial, which had led to shortage of water supply to the local residents. The BMC has received numerous complaints abut scarcity of water from the residents. However, Civic official's attempts to remove illegal constructions have met with stiff resistance from rowdy elements. At times, the civic staff was even attacked by them while taking off these connections. The civic body has also planned to replace the existing water pipes in these the existing water pipes in these areas with new MD (Medium Density) Pipes.

"BMC to meter use of water in all govt. offices", 9th February 2009, The Times of India

The civic body plans to install water meters in government properties across the city so that it can calculate error-free water consumption by these units. "All of them put together, they owe the BMC over Rs 300 crore as water charges over the last 10 years. For nearly a decade, several agencies have refused to pay their dues to the civic body. But now, projecting a drop in octroi revenue to Rs 4,300 crore for 2009-10, the BMC has decided to crack the whip and look at every option to mop up resources for its infrastructure plans. "We will install around 2,100 meters in all government properties at a cost of around Rs 8 crore. The readings will be recorded every month", said Charnkar.

"Deep Trouble", 24th February 2009, The Times of India

Badkhal and Damdama lakes in Haryana are dry today on account of unregulated mining in catchment areas. Besides helping promote the areas as tourist destinations, the lakes were a source of groundwater replenishment, which is what they were created for in the first place. Surajkund, for instance, was built more than 900 years ago to store rainwater that flowed from the hills. Similar stories of dried-up water bodies in other parts of the country - in Rajasthan, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, for exp. - raise serious concern. Few among the large, ancient man-made reservoirs that have, since long, served as viable sources of freshwater, have managed to survive seasonal droughts because of poor maintenance. Others have gone dry because of mining, construction and disuse, leading to their diversification as real estate, bus stands and landfill sites.

The Supreme Court has had to intervene several times to stop illegal quarrying and mining activity in western India's Aravalli range.

"Danger: The Ganga may turn salty", 3rd February 2009, The Hindustan Times

Rising sea level are causing salt water to flow into India's biggest river, the Ganga, threatening its ecosystem and turning vast farmlands barren in the country's east, a climate change expert warned on 2nd February. Sea levels in some parts of the Bay of Bengal were rising at 3.14 mili metres (MM) annually against a global average of 2 mm, threatening the low-lying areas of eastern India. Climate experts warned last year that as temperatures rise, the Indian subcontinent home to about one-sixth of humanity - will be badly hit with more frequent and more severe natural disasters such as floods and storms and more disease and hunger.

Fast file:
  • 2,510 km in length, the Ganga, India's national river, rises in the western Himalayas
  • 1,000,000 sq km of fertile land is fed by the Ganges and its tributaries
  • 7,756 metres is the height of the river's source, Gangotri glacier.
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