URBAN HIMALAYAS RUNNING DRY 

  • A recent study spanning 13 towns across four countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan – in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region shows that Himalayan towns are facing increased water insecurity in the wake of inadequate urban planning coupled with a rapidly changing climate.
  • The study shows that interlinkages of water availability, water supply systems, rapid urbanization, and consequent increase in water demand are leading to increasing water insecurity in towns in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.
  • From the case studies of Himalayan towns, it is evident that increasing urbanization and climate change are two critical stressors that are adversely affecting the biophysical environment of the urban Himalaya. 
  • This special issue looks at the challenges of water management in twelve towns from four corners of the Himalayan region. 
  • These include, from west to east, Murree and Havelian in Pakistan; Kathmandu, Bharatpur, Tansen, and Damauli in Nepal; Mussoorie, Devprayag, Singtam, Kalimpong, and Darjeeling in India; and, Sylhet in Bangladesh.

 

 

Legend 
Hindu , m 、 ! Region

 

Water insecurity attribute to 

  • Poor water governance
  • Lack of urban planning
  • Poor tourism management
  • Climate related risks and challenges
  • Unsustainable groundwater extraction
  • Lack of long term strategies 
  • Across the region, encroachment and degradation of natural water bodies (springs, ponds, lakes, canals, and rivers) and disappearance of traditional water systems (stone spouts, wells, and local water tanks) have become evident. Degradation and reclamation of water bodies affect wetland ecosystems and reduce retention capacities that prevent flooding.

 

Way forward 

  • A holistic water management approach that includes springshed management and planned adaptation is therefore paramount for securing safe water supply in the urban Himalaya. Along with springshed management, other options could be explored in the wake of rising water demand.

 

PRE MONSOON SHOWERS 

News 

  • Rains in parts of Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, and Ap calls the arrival of pre-monsoon showers.
  • They are notable across much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, and Cambodia. Their intensity can range from light showers to heavy and persistent thunderstorms.

 

April Rains/Mango showers 

  • During Summer season sun apparently moves northward direction. Due to this movement temperature rises at a particular place which is called local heating which causes conventional rising of air thereby causing thunderstorm. This is called Pre-Monsoon Showers. This occurs before monsoon season i.e. March-April.
  • They help in the early ripening of mangoes, help tea, jute, rice and good for coffee plantations.
  • They are also called Kalbaisakhi in West Bengal, Bordoisila or Tea showers in Assam, Mango showers in karnataka and as Cherry Blossom shower or Coffee Shower in Kerala.

 

How geologists detected gold in Sonbhadra, estimated its value  

  • Geographical Survey of India (GSI) provided estimates for the amount of gold that can be extracted from a site in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. 
  • The probable resource is 52,806.25 tonnes of ore, with an average grade of 3.03 grams per tonne, which means the total gold that can be extracted is 160 kg.
  • The statement came after news reports stated that the gold available is 3,350 tonnes; the GSI clarified that its estimates are 160 kg

 

What is this site with ore? 

  • It is near a village called Mahuli, around 70 km from Sonbhadra district’s headquarters of Roberstganj, and just 10 km from Jharkhand. 
  • The land is mainly forest area and inhabited mostly by tribals and members of backward classes. 
  • Locals said stories of gold underground have been passed down generations, giving rise to the name Sonpahari, the hill where the reserves have been estimated.

How long has the GSI known about the ore and its mineral content? 

  • The GSI Northern Region carried out exploration in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.  The results, however, were not encouraging enough to suggest major resources for gold in Sonbhadra.
  • The probable resource is 52,806.25 tonnes of ore, with an average grade of 3.03 grams per tonne, which means the total gold that can be extracted is 160 kg.

 

How does the GSI arrive at such estimates? 

  • Two basic processes are involved — a study of rocks, and drilling of the ground. Laboratory analysis of the rocks indicates the possibility of these containing a particular mineral, in this case gold
  • Another indicator is the age of the rocks, which is determined by radiometric dating processes. For high possibility of containing such metals and minerals, the rocks need to be at least 700 million years old
  • The rocks in Sonbhadra are in the Mahakoshal region and from the Proterozoic era, which started 2,500 million years ago
  • The GSI drilled the ground at some 30 places between 1998 and 2000, before compiling the report. This eventually provides a three-dimensional image of the area, which is necessary for determining the quality of the resource and the amount available.

 

Will it be worthwhile to extract the gold from the ore? 

  • The GSI classifies ore into categories based on the viability of extraction, which is determined from density. 
  • The gold ore found in Sonbhadra is in the “economic” category, which means that extraction will cost less than the cost of the gold that is extracted. 
  • The cost of extraction also depends on the grade of gold; the higher the gold concentration, the easier its extraction.

So, what happens to the ore now? 

  • Once the GSI gives an estimate, the state government conducts an auction and the winner undertakes the extraction. 
  • UP government officials said that before e-auctioning, a team of officials from the state mining department and the district administration have been asked to conduct a survey of the area and identify the land containing ore, by superimposing GSI’s geological maps on khasra maps from revenue records.
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