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Four critical voices on India’s perennial drought problem

Many parts of India is in the grip of severe drought, some for the third consecutive year, leading to growing hunger, mass migration, water conflicts and farmer suicides. We present four well-known voices – Yogendra Yadav, Jean Dreze, Sunita Narain and the late Anil Agarwal –  on India’s perennial drought problem, its causes and possible solutions.

Drought Digest: Dry planet: In every continent, flashing red

The Indian Express reports: The Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System (GIDMaPS) map shows large patches of dry areas in every continent, indicating droughts of varying severity. The GIDMaPS is a drought monitoring and prediction system that provides near real-time drought information based on multiple drought indicators and input data sets, mostly from NASA.

NEWS UPDATE #91

Sayantan Bera reports: Data from the ministry of water resources show that in end March, water levels in 91 major reservoirs in the country was at just 25% of capacity—30% lower than last year, and 25% less than the average storage in a decade. The situation is acute in the western parts of the country.

India’s looming water wars can destroy everything, from Make in India to smart cities

Nikhil Inamdar writes: India has the world’s largest number of people without access to clean water. The financial burden of this has fallen on its poorest agrarian communities, but the crisis is now spilling over to industries too. In Marathwada, the tanker business is the only one booming. The rest of the economy has collapsed.

Why we must have water budgets

Techno-economic fixes do not address the underlying “zero-sum game” nature of water resource use. Ultimately, the problem is that of allocating the water available each year among users — both people and the ecosystem. Without understanding how much water is available, how much is used and by whom, solving India’s water crisis will be impossible.

How the coal industry is deepening the global water crisis

The high water intensity of global energy generation is leading to water-coal conflict caused by coal power production. Greenpeace International has prepared a groundbreaking analysis of the impacts of the world’s coal power plants on global water resources. The world’s coal power plants are consuming water that could meet the basic requirements for nearly 1 billion people.

Special: P. Sainath’s award-winning series on rural India’s ‘Thirst Economy’

This series on rural India’s water crisis won P. Sainath a World Media Summit award under the category of Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries. It zeroes in on the stark contrasts in the consumption and access to water between the rich and poor to illustrate the alarming trend of inequalities in India and abroad.

NEWS UPDATE #85

Sukumar Muralidharan reports on Catch News: This year’s economic survey is a catalogue of crises. For one thing, it records that the situation in agriculture has been dismal on account of two successive years of poor monsoons. This is only the fourth time in 115 years that such a misfortune has hit the Indian economy.

NEWS UPDATE #84

January was the globe’s most unusually warm month ever recorded, and the past three months have been the most unusually warm three-month period on record as well, according to NASA. It is the combination of manmade global warming and a record strong El Niño that’s bumped up temperatures to never-before-seen levels since at least 1880.

NEWS UPDATE #82

Decision On GM Mustard Deferred *Mining interests and tribal rights on collision course *Former atomic energy regulator says India needs to pause nuclear plans *Lesser water recorded in Indian reservoirs than last year *Sikkim Organic Mission: We Need To Dig Deeper *Hydro dam boom threatens freshwater fish *Radioactive Water From Fukushima Leaking Into the Pacific

New book: Elemental India : The Natural World in Crisis

From the blurb: Around the world, people are increasingly facing a future that is crowded and hot, subject to violent weather extremes and a changing climate, where the rich and poor inhabit separate spheres and governments are unable or unwilling to confront these most vital challenges. For India, this reality is the very tangible present.

News update

California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth The New York Times For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley,

News update

Could India’s Coal Plans Derail the Global Climate? Tobias Engelmeier, The Energy Collective If India were to grow its electricity system based on coal (as China has done), would it derail the global climate? According to our calculations, under a “coal-heavy” scenario, India would need to increase is coal-fired power generation capacity from the 156

News update

‘If Peak Oil Is Dead, Why Haven’t Prices Dropped?’ Steve Andrews of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA interviews Dr. Richard G. Miller who recently co-authored and co-edited The Future of Oil Supply (see item below), a thematic issue of Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society entirely devoted to future world oil supply. Dr. Miller, trained

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