Water and Coal

This theme involves studying the impacts of coal based electricity generation on water. Given the large magnitude of coal based generation in India and the massive proposed capacity additions, implications for water resources and competing uses of water are enormous. The study looks not just at how much water is used for coal based power generation, but the larger impacts of the entire coal chain on water resources, starting with mining, washing, transport, burning to ash and other waste disposal. We have been looking at three broad impact categories – (a) Disruption of surface and ground water sources for e.g. by mining (b) Actual withdrawal and consumption of water by all these processes in the entire chain, and (c) Pollution and degradation of water resources.

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Reports and Articles in this Theme


Letter from Concerned Citizens and Organisations for Ensuring Implementation of New Norms for Emission and Water Use of Thermal Power Plants.

Letter written to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, by a number of concerned citizens and organisations expressing apprehension about the possible dilution and deferment of the emission and water consumption norms for thermal power plants that the Ministry had notified in Dec 2015. The letter is to urge the Minister to ensure that the norms are not diluted, and the notified timelines are strictly adhered to. The letter also urges the Ministry to bring out an interim report on the status of compliance and progress report.

Letter, sent to the Ministry on 19 June 2017

Read full letter here.

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Setting Environmental Standards Comparing Processes in Thermal Power Plants in India, US, and EU

This paper analyses the process by which the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, sets new regulations or revises existing ones and compares the Indian processes with those in the United States and the European Union. The processes examined include regulations related to coal-fired thermal power plants and water. The Indian process is ad hoc, opaque, and has limited scope for public participation. This can lead to inappropriate standards, lack of legitimacy of standards, and absence of widespread acceptance, all leading to ineffective implementation. The paper discusses these critical deficiencies and suggests improvements. Paper by Shripad Dharmadhikary in Economic and Political Weekly.

Article Published 13th May 2017,

Read full article here.

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Loss of 7 Billion Units power generation due to raw water shortage at coal based thermal power stations in India from June 2016 to April 2017

Coal based thermal power generation needs huge amounts of water. Water shortages have been affecting power generation at such plants on a regular basis. Manthan is monitoring such loss in generation on an ongoing basis. This brief note documents the loss in power generation at coal based power plants due to shortage of water.

Report Published 18th May 2017.

Read full report here.

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Environmental Violations in and around Coalmines, Washeries and Thermal Power Plants of Tamnar & Gharghoda Blocks, Dist. Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, Report of Fact Finding Team.

A two-member fact finding team comprising of environmental and social researchers Shripad Dharmadhikary and Manshi Asher inquired into the complaints about environmental pollution, loss of land and livelihood and other impacts of coal mines, coal-washeries and thermal power plants in the Tamnar and Gharghoda blocks of Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh. The focus of the team was on impacts related to water. This is a report of the fact finding team.

Report, published November 2016.

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Using Treated Sewage in Thermal Power Plants: Diverting Resources From Agriculture to Industry?Pumps-Lifting-Sewage-for-irrigating-fields-from-Solapur-Sewage-drain-

Given the increasing competition for water for different uses like agriculture and domestic supply, it is clear that such problems are likely to increase in the future. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Jinda Sandbhor and Ahmad Shaikh reports on The Wire.

Article Published on 9th June 2016.

Read full article here.

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Water guzzlers in water-stressed areas

Water_drawal_canal_of_a_coal_thermal_power_plantAs the summer has progressed, stories of the impacts of drought and water scarcity have been coming up with a saddening regularity. These stories mostly highlight the conditions of farmers, cattle and increasingly, problems of domestic water supplies in villages, towns and cities. However, what is often not reported is the situation with industries, particularly the coal based thermal power plants. Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article Published on 6th June 2016.

Read full article here.

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National Waterways in Odisha: a New Wave of Ecological Destruction

The proposed national waterways No. 5 and No.60 in the delta region of Mahanadi, Bramhani and Baitarani rivers in Odisha will  severely affect the ecology, local environment and dependent communities. This article discusses the upcoming waterways and their possible impacts in detail. Jinda Sandbhor and Shripad Dharmadhikary, report in the Mahanadi Newsletter of Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India.

Article Published on 29th March 2016.

Read full article here.

‘राष्ट्रीय जलमार्ग विधेयक’ जो हाल ही में संसद में पारित हुआ है, के मुताबित, २ राष्ट्रीय जलमार्ग (रा.ज.मा) महानदी घाटी में स्थित है- रा.ज.मा क्र. ५ जो पहले से ही मौजूद है और दुसरा, प्रस्तावित जलमार्ग रा.ज.मा 60, जो पारादीप (महानदी के डेल्टा में स्थित) से लेकर संबलपुर बराज तक बनेगा | ये जलमार्ग डेल्टा क्षेत्र, तथा महानदी और ब्राह्मणी नदियों के पर्यावरणीय प्रणाली में बड़े पैमाने में हस्तक्षेप करेंगे| इन से  पर्यावरण पर, समुदायों पर और और लोगों की आजीविका पर गहरा असर होगा| Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India के महानदी समाचार पत्र (Mahanadi Newsletter) में लिखा जिन्दा सांडभोर और श्रीपाद धर्माधिकारी का लेख |

हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिये यहां क्लिक करे.

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New regulations welcome, but the proof will be in the eatingDSC08005

For the first time ever, new regulations from the environment ministry require coal-based thermal power plants to stick to legally binding limits for water consumption. This article examines the implications of these rules with respect to the water consumption limits of coal based power plants. Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, Published on 12 April 2016.

Read full article here.

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Too many questions? Take away the right to ask!Parsa_Coal_Mines

The Chhattisgarh government has nullified the community rights of a section of villagers under the Forest Rights Act, as it was being used by them to oppose mining in the region. But why are the local people up against mining? Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 28 Feb 2016.

Read full article here.

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Implications of New Regulations for Water Consumption of Thermal Power PlantsDSC08005

On 8th Dec 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, notified new regulations concerning emissions and water use of thermal power plants (TPPs) in India. This note analyses some implications of these new regulations  with respect to the water consumption limits of coal based power plants.

Note, published on 8th Feb 2016.

Read or download Summary Highlights here.
Read or download Full Detailed Note here.

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Losing our rivers to grand plans

As per the National Waterways Bill recently introduced in the Parliament, 101 stretches of rivers in the country will be declared as National Waterways. There are many advantages of waterways but these advantages will be realised only when certain conditions are met, and only under certain circumstances.

Article, published 21 Sept 2015.

Read full article here.

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Comments on the Draft Notification related to Water Consumption and Emissions from Coal based Thermal Power Plants

Letter sent to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Indian Government. This letter includes comments on the Draft Notification on Amendment to Environment (Protection) Rules 1986 regarding Water Consumption and Emissions from Coal Thermal Power Plants.

Submission, sent on 11th June 2015.

Read full comments here.

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Coal-related pollution chokes mining towns in JharkhandWashery_1

The Dhanbad and Jharia regions in Jharkhand, noted for rampant coal mining and related operations, face grave environmental issues due to dumping of pollutant by-products from coal washeries. Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 29 April 2015.

Read full article here.

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Impacts of Coastal Coal Based Thermal Power Plants on Water : Field visit Report

Costal TPP cover pageCoal based thermal power plants (CTPPs) need water in huge quantities, and hence have a significant impact on water resources in the surroundings. However, it is generally assumed that few such concerns exist with respect to coastal coal based power plants as they use sea water, which is available in virtually unlimited amounts. This is fallacious thinking, because it is based on an understanding that sees the use of water by CTPPs only in arithmetic or algebraic terms. In reality, the impact of CTPPs on water is multi-faceted and based on a multi-dimensional, complex relationship. This report brings out such impacts of coastal thermal power plants based on field visit to several such projects.

Report, published 28 October 2014

Read full report here.

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Coal energy and pollution: Can communities fight the threat?Coal_mine_dust

A recent workshop in Karnataka focused on the health impact of coal-based power plants and other industrial pollutants and shared valuable inputs on how to empower local communities to combat the same. Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 16 March, 2015

Read full article here

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Breaking the myth behind Coastal Thermal Power PlantsAsh_Dumped_in_the_Buckingham_Canal

It is often believed that coal-based power plants near the coast, by virtue of their proximity to the sea, do not create any pressure on water resources. Shripad Dharmadhikary’s visit to Krishnapattanam in Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu exposes the fallacy in that.        Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 28th July 2014

Read full article here

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Ash everywhere; in your food and water, too?517

Fly ash, the residue from coal used in thermal power plants, is not only a headache for plant operators; its use in agriculture and other sectors violates environmental sanctity and poses a serious risk to human health. Shripad Dharmadhikary studies a new CEA report to bring us more.Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 14 April 2014

Read full article here

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Powerful forces get water for powerenv-barrage

The construction of barrages to meet the water needs of thermal power plants in western Chattisgarh shows that irregularities involved in the allocation of this resource may be as large as the ones in coal allocation itself. Shripad Dharmadhikary reports on India Together.

Article, published 5 Des 2013

Read full article here

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