Scientific and technological approaches for sustainable use of water resources: Summary of the Global Indian Scientists and Technocrats Forum convention held at Pune, in December 2010

The sessions were as follows:

  • River basin hydrology and climate change
  • Water for irrigated agriculture
  • Research and development initiatives by industries
  • Water for energy
  • Water for domestic and industrial use
  • Water for environment

The overview speech was given by Madhav Chitale. He detailed the current Indian setup of managing water using science. Global attempts at managing river basin water partnerships and the lessons to be learnt from them were touched upon. The need for accurate water balance statements to improve the efficiency of watershed development plans is an indicator of the need for improving field research and data collection. The re-use of city effluents and water purification is necessary given the scarcity of water and its increasing demand. Similarly water conservation and energy conservation need to be carried out simultaneously, as a demand for one of these two resources affects the other. Water's core function is to act as a life-support system for this planet. Measures need to be put into place to ensure that this is  not jeopardised in any way. There is a need for dissemination of water research and knowledge, especially in regional languages.

Technical Session 1: River basin hydrology and climate change

Avinash Tyagi began his theme speech by describing the manner in which climate change exacerbates existing challenges and stresses. Ecosystems have been resilient enough to cope with the hydrologic impacts of past climate changes. However, the current rate of climate change is very high and outpaces compensatory mechanisms initiated by the earth's processes.The ways in which climate change impacts the hydrological cycle is described. There is a need for accurate and extensive monitoring of changes in order to develop and implement effective adaptive strategies. The uncertainty inherent in climate change indicates that these strategies need to focus on risk management. climate change adaptation needs to be supported through the following measures:

  • Increased investment in research and development
  • Developing improved weather forecasting models and methods
  • Building capacities to operationalise technological advances
  • Developing tools and programmes to handle extreme climatic events

The following papers were also presented during this session:

  • Likely impact of climate change on the Indian Monsoon: R.R. Kelkar
  • Snow/glacier melt contribution to runoff in the Himalayan rivers- Assessment of potential impact of climate change: R.D. Singh, Manohar Arora, Rakesh Kumar
  • Hydrological projections under climate change- Scale, issues and uncertainities: Pradeep Mujumdar, Subimal Ghosh, Deepashree Raje
  • Statistical analysis of the spatial variability of very extreme rainfall in the Krishna river basin: B.D. Kulkarni, N.R, Deshpande
  • Water resource development in India- Focus on hydro power: A.B. Pandya
  • Need of integrated water resources development and management in India: Shankar Mahro, Rishi Srivastava

Technical session 2: Water for irrigated agriculture

The theme lecture, delivered by Dinesh Kumar debunked the many myths around water and agriculture in India. Water scarcity is set to rise, but not uniformly. Regional variations in demand and availability will lead to conflict across regions and water sectors. The paper also looks at 8 commonly held notions about alleviating water scarcity in India and explains why they are not accurate. This paper concludes that inter-basin transfer of water is the most economically viable method of increasing irrigation and maintaining food and water security. It also advocates that water come under the purview of national laws as opposed to state.

The following papers were also presented during this session:

  • Irrigated agriculture through Sardar Sarovar: N.B. Desai
  • Land drainage technology for increasing land and crop productivity: S.A. Kulkarni
  • An overview of rainfed farming in Maharashtra: S.B. Varde
  • Overview of development and reforms in water resources sector in Maharashtra: M.L. Shaikh, Sanjay Belsare, S.D. Chitaley
  • Sugarcane-potato inter-cropping for sustainable use of water resources- J.T. Nankar

Technical session 3: Water for energy

B.S.K. Naidu delivered the theme lecture for this session. The talk focused on the importance of hydropower. It stated that hydropower is a non-consumptive, non-radioactive, non-polluting use of water resources. After discussing the declining stores of fossil fuels globally, the importance of dams for storage and to generate incidental hydropower is remarked upon. For small hydro to be economically viable, it  is necessary to optimize systems. The lecture advocates a higher proportion of hydropower in India to reduce cost of generation and to reduce peaking shortage. This lecture reiterates that water efficiency and energy efficiency are inter-related. A case is made for including the positive environmental impacts of hydropower generation along with the negative in order to produce a balanced EIA. The development of pumped storage schemes is advocated, as is the need for constant upgrading of designs and plants. 

The following papers were also presented during this session:

  • Managing the wealth and woes of the river Brahmaputra: Rajan Nair
  • Tidal power- Central board of irrigation and power: C.D. Thatte
  • Hydropower scenario of Maharashtra- Present and future: M.D. Pendse, V.C. Shelke, D.S. Kulkarni, S.G. Koli
  • Hydropower projects on bouldery rivers with steep gradient: P.B. Deolalikar

Technical session 4: Water for domestic and industrial use

Asit K. Biswas, in his theme lecture, explains the problems of urban domestic water quality. Lack of access to 24/7 clean drinking water has increased the coping costs for urban households. Statistics often do not report on the quality of supplied water or of sanitation facilities. Reducing unaccounted losses of water will go a long way towards solving urban India's water issues.

The following papers were also presented during this session:

  • Water- a scarce resource for domestic and industrial demand: S.R.Shukla
  • The status of domestic water supply and sanitation in rural India and the future challenges: Arun C. Mudgerikar
  • Rural drinking water sector overview for Maharashtra: Sudhir Thakre
  • Development of ultrafiltration (UF) membrane based technology for drinking water purification: Ulhas K. Kharul
  • Rural adaptation of membrane based water purification systems: Sally T Panicker, P.K. Tiwari
  • Malkapur (Karad) 24X7 water supply scheme- a case study: Rajendra Hollani

Technical session 5: Water for environment

In the theme lecture, Anil D. Mohile examines the concept of deciding environmental requirements. Anthropogenic changes to the water cycle have adversely impacted the ecosystem. It is necessary that water use also take into account the needs of the ecosystem. A negotiated approach between the needs of the ecosystem and of humans needs to be arrived at through tradeoffs rooted in science. While downstream needs form part of the instream water requirements at any given point, the author advocates that only aquatic ecology and river morphology be considered for environmental flow assessment. The definitions and approaches for estimating environmental flows are then described.

The following papers were also presented during this session:

  • From there to here: Deepak Kantawala
  • Environmental flows in rivers of India: R.C. Jha, C.K. Agarwal, Anupam Prasad
  • Rescuing EFR from impractical romanticism: Chetan Pandit
  • Environmental concerns in IWRDM for Maharashtra, India- a case study of Dudhna sub-basin of Godavari basin: S.P. Bagade, D.S. Kulkarni, S.G. Koli, J.P. Mahale
  • Environmental and forest clearances and issues concerning hydropower development in India: Shahid Ali Khan, Anuradha Bajpayee
  • Bioreduction of hexavalent chromium by immobilized P.Chrysosporium: Kaustubha Mohanty

Technical session 6: Research and development initiatives by industries

The following presentations were made during this session:

  • Research and development initiatives in Kirloskar Brothers Limited: J.T. Kshirsagar
  • Adoption of piped distribution networks and micro irrigation systems in canal command areas: S.P. Jadhav
  • Comprehensive India centric solution to water challenge and managing the fast depleting natural resources using triple tools of technology, innovative solutions and adequate policy measures: R.R. Sonde
  • Solution for present water crisis by sewage recycle- C Tech shows the way: Y.V. V. Satyanarayana
Download the convention seminar with the presented papers below:
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