03, July 2017

1.In Telangana, a unique irrigation project

Source: The Hindu

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) of the Telangana government has gained much attention in recent times.

Kaleshwaram Project:

  • The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the Congress government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided. After the formation of Telangana in 2014, the TRS government redesigned the project on the ground that the original plan had too many environmental obstacles and had very low water storage provision — only about 16.5 tmc ft.
  • After conducting a highly advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey for a couple of months, the government separated the original component serving the Adilabad area as the Pranahitha project and renamed the rest as Kaleshwaram by redesigning the head works, storage capacity and the canal system based on the data of availability of water at different locations along the course of the Godavari and its tributaries.
  • The Kaleshwaram project has provision for the storage of about 148 tmc ft with plans of utilising 180 tmc ft by lifting at least 2 tmc ft water every day for 90 flood days. The project is designed to irrigate 7,38,851 hectares (over 18.47 lakh acres) uplands in the erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.
  • According to engineers, KLIP has many unique features, including the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir. The project would also utilise the highest capacity pumps, up to 139 MW, in the country to lift water.

What is LIDAR?

LIDAR—Light Detection and Ranging—is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth.

  • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
  • A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.

Two types of LIDAR are topographic and bathymetric.

  1. Topographic LIDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land,
  2. Bathymetric LIDAR uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.

LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility. NOAA scientists are using LIDAR to produce more accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, to assist in emergency response operations, and in many other applications.

 

  • LIDAR data sets for many coastal areas can be downloaded from the Office for Coastal Management Digital Coast web portal.

2.Integration of oil & gas majors is best avoided

Source: The Hindu

The idea of an integrated oil major has surfaced again in 2017 even after being rejected twice earlier.

Background:

  • The idea first made its appearance during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government in 1998.
  • The proposal was then rejected for encouraging a monopolistic scenario in distribution of essential goods like LPG, petrol, kerosene etc. In 2005, the Krishnamurthy committee formed by the UPA government debunked the idea as it would reduce competition and manpower in the oil and gas sector.

An integrated oil major is good for the following reasons

  • Better capacity to bear higher risks.
  • Avail economies of scale.
  • Create more shareholder value.
  • Make better investment decisions and be more competent globally.

Why an integrated oil major is not suitable for India?

  • Indian firms are much smaller in size compared with top international oil companies. Also, the Government’s track record of consolidating state run firms has not borne good results.
  • Besides, in oil and gas, minimum political interference and liberalisation have proven better in creating more shareholder value compared with integration. Therefore, with oil firms facing such allegations and inefficiencies, giving complete autonomy to one entity can risk the nation’s energy security.
  • Another concern is employment generation. The sector has seen a continuous decline in manpower since FY11. The Krishnamurthy Committee had earlier deduced that such integration will result in manpower reduction. At a time when the government is struggling with job creation, it will be difficult to justify job losses due to restructuring.

Way ahead

Any decision that creates a monopoly in the oil and gas sector must be carefully thought through. An important question here is whether a bigger oil company will help reform the sector. Or, will it create new problems for the Indian people at large.

3.Nine more bird, biodiversity areas in Kerala

Source: The Hindu

Nine more locations in Kerala have been identified as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).

Key facts:

  • The new list was released by the Bombay Natural History Society, a partner of BirdLife International, in its recent publication, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in India Priority sites for conservation.
  • With the latest addition, Kerala now has 33 IBAs. Kerala IBAs are home to three critically endangered species Whiterumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, and Red-headed
  • The newly identified IBAs of Kerala are Achencoil Forest Division; Anamudi Shola National Park; Camel’s Hump Mountain, Wayanad; Kurinjimala Wildlife Sanctuary; Malayattoor Reserve Forest; Mankulam Forest Division; Mathikettan Shola National Park; Muthikulam-Siruvani; and Pampadum Shola National Park.

IBAs

  • The IBAs are “places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity” and are “distinct areas amenable to practical conservation action,” according to BirdLife International.
  • Declaring a site as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area does not ensure that the site gets legal protection or becomes inaccessible to people. Instead BirdLife International encourages national and State governments to recognise the areas as sites of vital importance for conservation of wildlife and to empower local community-based conservation initiatives.

Birdlife international

BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation partnership. Together we are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country or territory – and growing

  • BirdLife International (formerly the International Council for Bird Preservation) is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. It is the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations, with over 120 partner organisations.
  • BirdLife International is the official Red List authority for birds, for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Conservation Programmes

  • BirdLife has nine Global Programmes, varying from those which are well-established, to more recently developed ones, each responding to specific conservation issues.
  • In addition to the Global Programmes there are individual regional programmes. These support the Global and Regional Conservation Programmes to help the Partnership focus and collaborate on common priorities. They provide a framework for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluating of our conservation work.

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are:

  • Places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity
  • Recognised world-wide as practical tools for conservation
  • Distinct areas amenable to practical conservation action
  • Identified using robust, standardised criteria
  • Sites that together form part of a wider integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment

4.Sunderbans mangrove cover at risk

Source: The Hindu

Remote sensing and GIS-enabled data offer definite proof for the first time that the mangrove forest cover in the Sunderbans has been depleting alarmingly. From 1986 to 2012, 124.418 sq. km., or about 5.5% of the mangrove cover, was lost. Variable degrees of erosion was observed in at least 18 islands. The continuation of this process is a serious ecological threat, say experts.

Noted islands experiencing erosion include Sagar, Gosaba, Dulibhasani, Dalhousie, Bhangaduni and Jambudwip.

Key facts:

  • How climate change and sea level rise has contributed to the phenomenon of losing land, including mangrove forests in the Sundarbans, in the last part of the 21st century
  • In the western part of sunderban delta, there is less fresh water flow and sediment supply. This has led to the starvation of sediment. Besides, the rate of sea level rise is higher than sediment supply. This has led to the erosion of Islands.
  • A critical minimal inflow of freshwater is necessary for the luxuriant growth of mangroves. When freshwater inflow is missing, there is a change in mangrove succession, and freshwater loving species of mangroves are replaced by salt-water loving ones.
  • The immediate impact of salinity will be on the fishing community, where commercially sought after fish species will be replaced by fish that does not have as much market value.

Sunderbans

  • The Sundarbans is a natural region in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 



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