Irai River – Chandrapur

The very existence of Irai River - Chandrapur,
is a question mark today, let's help rejuvenate & restore the Waterbody

Irai Dam situated at the coordinates of 20.1677381°N 79.3048096°E, it was inaugurated and dedicated to the nation in year 1983 and the ownership lies with Government of Maharashtra, is an earth fill and gravity dam on Erai River near Chandrapur in state of Maharashtra.

The height of the dam above lowest foundation is 30 m (98 ft) while the length is 1,620 m (5,310 ft). The volume content is 985 km3 (236 cu mi) and gross storage capacity is 226,500.00 km3 (54,340.24 cu mi).

BACKGROUND

Erai River is a main tributary of Wardha River in Chandrapur District and Zarpat River is a tributary of Erai River. Erai originates from near Kasarbodi / khadsangi, Tal. Chimur, Dist. Chandrapur, Maharashtra and travels about a total of 78 kilometers before merging with Wardha River. The journey is controlled at a point, near Chandrapur, where a dam is built as a key halt. Erai travels a distance of 45 kilometers to reach the dam and another 33 kilometers from Erai dam till Hadasti village where it merges with Wardha River. The depth of the river varies in this entire journey between 3 meters till about a deepest of 8 meters.

THE ISSUE

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) conducted a study to understand the usage and contamination level of the River water in November, 2014 that reported “Erai River supplies water to Chandrapur city and M/s. Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS), Chandrapur from Erai Dam and 30 % water supply of Chandrapur City is drawn from Erai River. Chandrapur City lifts about 54 MLD water and CSTPS lifts around 304 MLD water from Erai River. In peak summer, sometimes water level at Erai Dam reaches at dead level and water intake for industrial consumption has to restrict by District Authority to ensure water supply for drinking purpose.”

 

THE RESEARCH FINDINGS

  • In year 2013, the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research (JoCPR) published a research article on “Physico-chemical parameter evaluation of water quality around Chandrapur District Maharashtra, India” based on the detailed study conducted by a group of research scholars including Pratiksha Tambekar, Pravin P. Morey, R. J. Batra and R. G. Weginwar. The study observed that Wardha, Wainganga and Penganga are the major rivers surrounding Chandrapur district. Wardha river flows into the district from western boundary and then flows along the boundaries of Warora, Chandrapur, Korpana, Rajura, Ballarpur and Gondpipari talukas and Penganga and Irai rivers meet the Wardhariver during this course. Monitoring of water quality of Wardha River was carried out during September 2011 to August 2012 period to assess the water pollution level. Two sampling stations were selected at downstream of Chandrapur city. Parameters such as pH, turbidity were measured in situ during the sampling. Higher values of several physico-chemical parameters indicate the pollution of riverine ecosystem in the study area. Domestic wastes, municipal sewage, industrial effluent from paper and pulp industries as well as agricultural runoffs are directly or indirectly responsible for deterioration of water quality. “The results revealed that most of the water samples do not meet WHO and BIS water quality standards, while many samples showing severe water quality deterioration.”
  • The same team of researcher had earlier submitted a research paper in 2012 to JoCPR, in which they conducted a detailed research & study on Chandrapur city. A rapidly developing city due to industrialization since 2 decades. It is considered being fourth most polluted city in India. The present study was carried out with a view to have an understanding about the pollution status of Chandrapur district, particularly water quality in vicinity of Industrial area. Environmental studies were carried out on ground and surface water to find out the physico-chemical parameters like pH, BOD, COD, DO, hardness, alkalinity, fluorides, chlorides, TDS and turbidity. The report submitted following findings;

Values of physico-chemical parameters of seven sampling stations of Chandrapur district

Parameter Studied

WHO standard

Erai River

pH

6.5-8.5

6.03

ALKALINITY (mg/l)

200

367

COD (mg/l)

10

195

DO (mg/l)

04~06

4.2

CHLORIDES (mg/l)

200

42.6

FLOURIDES (mg/l)

1.5

0.19

TOTAL HARDNESS (mg/l)

500

240

TOTAL DISSOLVE SOLIDS (mg/l)

500

1120

TURBIDITY

 

40.3

IRON (mg/l)

0.3

0.19

  • More recently in August 2016, Indian Express reported that Chandrapur Police registered a criminal offence under Section 136 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 108 and 117 of the Bombay Police Act (BPA) against “concerned in-charge officials” of Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) for “negligent act with a potential to cause damage to human life” in connection with the pollution of the Erai river stream passing through Chandrapur city. The FIR to this effect was lodged with the Police through an NGO – Green Planet.

Considering the above stated situation it becomes imperative to rescue the river from the high level of pollution getting added into the river due to anthropogenic factors, since the same river is not just supplying the drinking water to the city of Chandrapur, but also is the key source of managing and sustaining the biodiversity in the region.

THE CAUSE

Before we get into the process of remediation, it is important to understand the eutrophication cycle of aquatic ecology. How the water gets toxin and unfit for life?

The MSEB has constructed Dam on this river for their own water supply for thermal power station and their colony and the Chandrapur Municipal council pumps the water for Chandrapur Town and lifts about 54,0,30 CMD of water and generated 37,800 CMD of sewage. The Chandrapur town does not have sewage treatment plant and also there is no underground sewerage system and part of sewage is treated in septic tanks and all the sewage through various nallas discharges into Erai River. The treated effluent of CSTPS is partly discharged into the Erai River and part of it consumed by the power station for different purposes within their premises.

Below tables explains the pollution generated each day that gets added into the Erai River;

Such huge amount of polluted water, when added to the river water it creates a chain reaction to imbalance the water ecology that exceeds the limit of self-healing River capacity of reverse eutrophication. It generates huge amount of sludge that settles in the bottom of the River, reducing the depth of the River. Parallel to that, as the pollution compounds have to get broken down through the natural process, it creates a higher Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), and the domestic green waste pushes a higher Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). Both these factors, together reduces the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in water that suffocates the aquatic life forms like fishes, resulting in mass death of the fishes. The same is reflecting in the table above, wherein the concentration of chemicals like chlorides & fluorides and nutrient elements like Iron are shown way above the permissible limits.

Irai River - Chandrapur

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jun 05, 2020

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