Monthly Archives: November 2011

Where will freshwater come from?

English: The Thermal power station at Richemon...

Image via Wikipedia

Projected increase in production in six sectors will put a severe stress on India’s freshwater resource.

In 2008 the six sectors together withdrew about 41.5 million cubic meters of freshwater [a cubic meter is 1000 litres]. This is equivalent to freshwater demand of one billion people on a daily basis at a low per capita use of 40 liters per day.

All industries will consume 5600 million cubic meters freshwater. This is more than water required for drinking and cooking of over one billion people on a daily basis. Continue reading

Need to kill 10,000 sq km of forests and rich lands

Savandurga hillside forest, Bangalore, India

Image via Wikipedia

The six sectors occupied in 2009 about 0.7 million hectares [or 7000 sq km]. This included land leased out to mine coal, bauxite, limestone, and iron ore.

But this might be a gross underestimation because in the past, industry has acquired far more than what is required for power production facilities. Golf courses are not uncommon in industry premises and golf turf consumes 30 liters per square foot of grass. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

India will draw coal four times more than now

Castle Gate Power Plant near Helper by David J...

Image via Wikipedia

Demand from the key six big sectors will grow fourfold to two billion tons by 2030. Home production of coal by that time will be about 1.5 billion tons. Demand at two billion.

Business as usual will have India import about 500 million tons of coal to meet requirements of just the six sectors. Even in low carbon coal need will be about 1.5 billion tons in 2030, thrice the current level of production.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The power within: how people of Balua in Kathmandu got electricity to their village

Electricity pillar

About seven years ago, the people in Balua were fed up waiting for electricity to reach the village. They were no more than 60 km from Kathmandu. It took 17 years for the government to cover 400 households. They were determined to prevent such delays.

The village desperately needed electricity to irrigate the fertile valley’s famed garlic fields. The grid was just 5 km away; they knew they could do better. They heard of a scheme that could speed up the process. Any registered body could extend the grid on its own by a-20 per cent contribution of the cost.

In 2004 they formed a committee and applied for extension of the grid. They mobilized the community to contribute money for the 20-per cent cost. In less than three years, the committee succeeded. They got 400 households electrified. The running of the substation seemed a challenge initially. It involved managing the 11 KVA transmission poles, household wiring, repair and maintenance of the 150 and 300 KVA transformers, installing meters and taking on the full basket of customer service functions such as meter reading, billing, repair and accounts.

All this in a community with no trained manager or electrical engineer. Today the committee has four employees, two technical staff who learnt the trade hands-on when they worked with the contractor, an accountant and one biller who doubles as an office assistant.

Tagged , ,

The Mahua Magic

I was two hours outside of Nagpur in the Melghat region sometime ago. I chanced upon a tribal hamlet and spent two days in the village. It was April and fragrant mahua flowers were spread for drying in front of every house. The residents said they were preserving the flowers for the rainy season to make mahua bhakhar. It is a sweet bread made of dried mahua flowers and sorghum flour. Locals believe the warm properties of the flower protect from chills and aches during the rains. Amused by my curiosity an elderly lady in the hamlet prepared two bhakhars for me and offered a bag full of dried flowers to take home. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Drain starch water for low-carb rice

White Rice

Image via Wikipedia

To some of you the TV campaign for a rice called Arise must still be fresh in the mind. The company that promoted it was Marico and it claimed a 20% reduction in carbohydrates with this rice variety. The claim was based on just one study and a nutrient analysis. Nutritional claims have to be substantiated with data. It was not in this case. Marico said Arise has been studied in some of India’s premier institutes that confirm it is healthier than other white polished rice. When asked if it would not be simpler to reduce carbohydrates by draining starch water from the cooked rice. An official said in-home techniques will not consistently lead to desired benefits. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

India mines more iron ore than it needs


Image via Wikipedia

India currently mines more iron ore than domestic industry requires to produce iron and steel. About 220 million tons got mined last year; only 75 million tons was needed within India. The rest 60 per cent was exported. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Soil pH has declined significantly since 1980s in India & China

Fertilizer-Burn on a cannabis sativa leaf.

Image via Wikipedia

Each plant and its soil life form have a particular soil pH it is used to. It is like blood pressure in our bodies, that varies many levels even within a day. Any change can lead to complications in the organism’s metabolism. Decrease in pH modifies top soils, a major source of crop nutrients.

Soil pH declined significantly from the 1980s to 2000s in nearly all crop production areas in India and China. Average decline was between 0.13 and 0.8. Typically pH value hovers at an average of eight across most lands of the world. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Freshwater consumption will more than triple by 2030

Freshwater consumption will more than triple in the next two decades and reach 18,000 million cubic meters in 2030. This is water that is lost and has serious social and environmental implications.

The power sector will account for the major share of freshwater consumption; its share will reduce from 90.5 to 85% in 2030. Water use will increase most dramatically in the iron and steel sector, in the cement sector and the aluminum sector. These sectors will see a six-fold increase in water use.

In low carbon freshwater use in 2030 is about 10% lower than in business as usual, this is largely because of reduction in power generation from coal-based power plants that one hopes will happen.


Tagged , , , , , , ,

Global warming claims New Moore island

The Sunderbans, at the mouth of river Ganges s...

This satellite image shows the forest in the protected area. The Sundarbans appears deep green, surrounded to the north by a landscape of agricultural lands, which appear lighter green, towns, which appear tan, and streams, which are blue. Ponds for shrimp aquaculture, especially in Bangladesh, sit right at the edge of the protected area, a potential problem for the water quality and biodiversity of the area. The forest may also be under stress from environmental disturbance occurring thousands of kilometers away, such as deforestation in the Himalaya Mountains far to the north. (Image via Wikipedia)

In the last year or so, climate change and consequent sea level rise on the Sundarbans has resulted in the disappearance of New Moore or Purbasha Island. It is a tiny uninhabited island in the Bay of Bengal. The island is known as South Talpatti in Bangladesh.

Both India and Bangladesh claimed it was theirs after an American satellite discovered the island in 1974. After studying satellite images recently we could confirm that New Moore Island has been washed away and rising sea level seems to be the predominant cause. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: