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ICWaR Seminar Series

DipankarSahaName of the Speaker: Dr. Dipankar Saha

Title of the Seminar:  Artificial Recharge – An all-weather solution for Groundwater Crisis or Overrated Panacea?     

Date and Time: 28th August, 2019 (Wednesday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. Dipankar Saha is a former Member (Head Quarters) Central Ground Water Board, former Member Secretary, Central Ground Water Authority and Head of National Ground Water Training and Research Institute, Raipur He spearheaded the National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme, as National Coordinator. He obtained PhD on Ground Water Management from IIT- Dhanbad and has authored more than 50 papers in International Peer Reviewed Journals and delivered more than 300 lectures and key note address in national and International Seminars. He is professionally trained from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok and from JICA, Tokyo. He represented the country and presented papers in World Bank session at Kathmandu, International Atomic Energy Agency at Ho-Chi Minh City, and Vienna, World Water Week – Stockholm, India-UK Water Security Exchange- Wallingford, Oxfordshire, IAH Congress in Dajeon, Korea. He led the Govt of India Delegation to Myanmar.  He remained member of many high level National Committees and has Edited/Co-edited books/Journals, the recent one is Water Governance- Challenges and Porospects published by Springer in 2019. He is the first recipient of National Geoscience Award in 2010 from CGWB as well as first recipient of Excellence in Ground Water conferred by International Association of Hydrogeologist-India Chapter in 2014.

Abstract: Groundwater is the lifeline of drinking, irrigation and industrial water supply in India. With an extraction of ~ 250 km3 annually, India are the largest user of Groundwater in the world. Though a plethora of government documents and policy papers highlighting planned and coordinated extraction management of groundwater resources is available, in practice, it has been hardly followed. So is the case of artificial recharge, often referred as medicine of all groundwater woos but mostly being executed in a segmented and unplanned manner often divested with scientific understanding of the area. Groundwater extraction has never been planned in conjunction with its annual recharge. The reason is the lack of structured approach by the Government. We use more than 85% of our extracted groundwater for irrigation through ~ 22 million wells owned by farmers. In absence of any regulatory mechanism, coupled with sops offered by the State Govts, mainly in the form of energy subsidy, has initiated a reckless extraction, creating havoc. The latest estimates reveal that about 20% of the assessment units are either overexploited or are alarmingly close to it. Artificial recharge and rain water harvesting is considered as a panacea for groundwater depletion. The Centre and State Government Departments spend huge public money mainly through various schemes like MNGREGS. The recharge structures are hardly dovetailed with local aquifer understanding, thus lacking in two basic arenas, location and design, and resulting in sub-optimal benefits. The other important issue is the lack of source water, which is primarily monsoon runoff in India. In arid and semi-arid areas, dearth of source water is a major challenge. Inter-basin water transfer should also considered for recharging the depleted aquifer. Moreover, because of climate change, the monsoon pattern is changing. The traditional understanding of types of structures and their designs needs to be revisited to accommodate and withstand high intensity rainfall.There are areas where acute groundwater mining has rendered such a condition that even if all possible recharge measures are successfully implemented and working, the resource would continue to deplete. Such a situation warrants strict direct or indirect regulation of extraction. The NAQUIM outputs are enhancing our knowledge and understanding of the prolific as well as depleted aquifer systems. The time has come to think of mega recharge schemes in hydrogeologically suitable areas.

Dr. Deshpande Name of the Speaker: Dr. R D Deshpande

Title of the Seminar: Frontiers of Hydrology Research – Role of Isotope Tracer Applications

Date and Time: 16th July, 2019 (Tuesday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. R D Deshpande is currently the Chairman of Geosciences Division of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, which is a unit of Department of Space Govt. of India. He has a Ph.D. from the M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara, based on his isotope hydrology research at PRL. Dr. Deshpande’s research is focused on understanding the complex hydro-geological and hydro-meteorological processes using stable and radioactive isotopes as a tracer tool. His research in the field of Isotope Hydrology is well-known in India and abroad. He carried out a Regional Aquifer System analyses in the North Gujarat Cambay region to explain the temperature and helium anomalies in the groundwater vis-à-vis tectonic frame work of the region. He has explained the origin and distribution of high levels of fluoride in ground waters of North Gujarat and suggested remedial measures against the endemic fluorosis. He has assigned radio-carbon and Helium accumulation ages to ground waters of Gujarat and shown that groundwater being exploited today in the water stressed areas was recharged several tens of thousands of years old. This highlighted the need for artificial recharge and rain water harvesting. He observed for the first time the kinetic isotope fractionation during liquid condensation under supersaturated condition. He has identified the zones of groundwater helium anomalies along the Narmada lineament as a signature of active hydrothermal circulation. Dr. Deshpande is the Principal Coordinator of the National Programme on Isotope Fingerprinting of Waters of India (IWIN) which is a multi-institutional collaborative research programme, aimed at isotopically characterizing various hydrological cycle components (sea surface water, atmospheric water vapor, rain water, groundwater and river water) to understand subtle aspects of interaction and exchange between them. Dr. Deshpande set up a state-of-the-art Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS) laboratory under the IWIN programme, dedicated for oxygen and hydrogen isotopic analyses of water and vapor samples. His research is based on numerous wide-spread and exhaustive field sampling across the country for collection of samples and their isotopic analyses. He has published more than 40 peer reviewed research papers based on this fieldwork. Dr. Deshpande is nominated as a Mission Expert in Isotope Hydrology by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna. He has served as a member of the several Expert and Advisory committees of MOWR, MOES and the DST. He is an expert member in the Board of Studies in Geology at M.S. University of Baroda and Research Development Committee of the M.G. Science Institute, Ahmedabad and Kachchh University, Bhuj. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of India and the Gujarat Science Academy.

Abstract: The contemporary hydrology is faced with great challenges of known problems and the greater of unknowns. Problems of water scarcity, anthropogenic pollution, geogenic contamination, dwindling surface flows, inequitable distribution and salinity ingression have turned cliché in hydrology community. The scientific processes underlying these hydrological problems are quite well understood and can be mitigated by appropriate field measures, treatment technologies, improved water use efficiency and policy interventions enforced with strong political will. While we grapple with these known water resource problems, there lies beyond a mind-boggling ignorance about certain aspects of functioning of hydrological systems, their natural course and response to perturbing stimuli. This ignorance about certain hydrological processes does not hinder the ongoing efforts of mitigating existing problems; therefore, it is presently on the back-burner. However, for a fundamental hydrology researcher, this ignorance defines the frontier of research. Filling these hydrological knowledge gaps will become essential in the coming decades to face the imminent scenario. This knowledge gap may seem only academic in nature at present but is bound to have societal implications. Some of the important questions in the above backdrop are: (1) What is the relative contribution of Western Disturbances and Indian Summer Monsoon in Himalayan precipitation, rivers and cryosphere? (2)  How are wetlands in Northeast India participating in monsoon rainfall? (3) How to identify signatures of static groundwater being circulated into the surface and atmospheric components of hydrology? (4) How much of submarine groundwater discharge can be tapped without damaging marine ecology? (5) Are there deep sources of self-recharging and self-replenishing groundwater (seawater distillate or otherwise) other than static water? (6) What is the contribution of recycled moisture in Indian precipitation? (7) How to perceive the effect of varying Himalayan riverine influx in the Bay of Bengal? (8) Can the Bay of Bengal surface water cool below threshold temperature for feeding moisture? These and many more questions define the frontier of basic research in hydrology which can be defined only by multitude of tools and expertise in conjunction with each other. Isotope application is one such tool which can play an important role in this basic research pursuit. Progress hitherto and the possibilities will be discussed in the seminar.

Dr.VeenaName of the Speaker: Dr. Veena Srinivasan

Title of the Seminar: India’s Water Crisis: Bridging the Science-Policy-Practice Gap

Date and Time: 26th June, 2019 (Wednesday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. Veena’s research interests include inter-sectoral water allocation and conflict transformation, impacts of multiple stressors on water security, ground and surface water linkages, low-cost sensing and citizen science, and sustainable water management policy and practice. More recently, she has initiated work on Bangalore’s lakes with the goal of understanding how lakes can contribute to water security as well as creating a citizen’s dashboard, which synthesizes data from low-cost sensors and citizen scientists to help manage urban lakes better. Dr. Veena is in the leadership team of the Panta-Rhei initiative of the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences (IAHS). She was recently appointed to the Strategic Advisory Group of the task force for Monitoring SDG6 by UN-Water. Dr. Veena has served as a resource person for National Water Mission, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Water Conflicts Forum in India. Dr. Veena has won several awards for her research including the 2015 Jim Dooge Award for best paper in the Journal of Hydrology and Earth System Science from the European Geophysical Union, the 2012 Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award from the American Geophysical Union. She has received an Editor’s citation for excellence in reviewing for the Journal of Water Resources Research in the years 2016 and 2017. She is the current chair holder of the prestigious Prins Claus Chair in Netherlands from 2018-2020. She has also been invited to be an IUGG Union Lecturer in 2019. She has been a recipient of the Teresa Heinz Environmental Scholars Award, a Presidential Graduate Fellowship at Boston University as well as the government of India’s National Talent Search Scholarship. Veena received her PhD from Stanford University’s Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER). Dr. Veena holds a Masters in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University, Massachusetts and a B-Tech in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Abstract: India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. However, despite an appreciable increase in funding for water research, high-quality science, that is usable by stakeholders remains elusive.There is an urgent need for “use-inspired” research on questions that actually matter to stakeholders, trans-disciplinary research, and empirical primary data on fundamental science questions. But what does such research entail? What do we understand, what questions still remain to be answered? Finally, how does science actually translate into policy and practice? What are the policy levers or game changers and how do we ensure that scientific research actually informs efforts to adopt them.

Name ofpurnima jalihal the Speaker: Dr.Purnima Jalihal

Title of the Seminar: Desalination – Technical challenges and Road Ahead

Date and Time: 29th May, 2019 (Thursday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. Purnima Jalihal is a senior scientist who heads the Energy and Fresh Water group in the National Institute of Ocean Technology, India.  She has coordinated many first – ever projects in ocean energy and desalination.  She has jointly coordinated the world’s first  ever ocean thermal gradient based desalination plant at Kavaratti island in the Lakshadweep group  in the Arabian Sea which has helped transform the lives of the small island community which had a serious lack of drinking water.  For this work she was awarded the Vishwakarma Medal in 2006 by the Indian National Science Academy.   This success led to more plants in islands and a demonstration plant offshore. Dr. Purnima is now attempting to scale up the technology and power such plants using ocean renewable energies.  She has several firsts in the area of ocean energy as well, including a wave powered desalination system at  Kerala, a wave powered navigational buoy and a hydrokinetic turbine. Her areas of specialization include offshore structures, floating and structural dynamics, renewable ocean energies and desalination.She has MS and  PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from Duke University , USA.   She is currently working on a large scale desalination project at Tuticorin thermal power station using the condenser reject heat and a self powered thermal desalination at Lakshadweep   using the power generated from the temperature gradient. Additionally, she played a pivotal role is getting Cabinet’s approval for India to become Member Country of the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) Technology Collaboration Program (TCP) with the NIOT as the participating agency in 2016 and held the first Ex Co meeting in India in November 2017.

Abstract: The current scenario where water stress dominates most of the regions in India warrants new technological solutions for fresh water generation.  Desalination has been on the horizon for some decades now due to large plants in the Gulf.  There are several types of desalination methods predominantly thermal and membrane based.  The technical challenges include proper methods for intake and discharge of seawater, optimization of thermodynamic parameters for thermal systems, chemicals and bye products for membrane methods and energy requirement optimization. The location, water quality and environmental impact and other parameters like availability of steam all need to be considered for appropriate selection of the desalination method.  Desalination of brackish water as well as seawater promises to be a good solution to the water crisis.  Desalination methods are energy intensive and towards lower carbon footprint, use of renewable energy forms need further exploration and development.  Cost and energy reduction for thermal technologies and safe disposal of by products for membrane methods is the need of the hour.

Name reddyof the Speaker: Dr. G S Srinivasa Reddy (KSNDMC)

Title of the Seminar: Drought Monitoring System in Karnataka

Date and Time: 25th April, 2019 (Thursday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. G S Srinivasa Reddy is currently serving as Director in Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center (KSNDMC) since January 2015. He had his Masters and PhD degree from Department of Geology from Bangalore University. He has joined this organization during 1991 as a scientist and served as scientific officer in KSNDMC from 2008-2015. His area of specialization is Hydro-Geology, Geo Technology, Ground Water Hydrology, Surface Water Hydrology and Agro –Meteorology. He is serving as a member of Geological Society of India. He is also a member in state level Weather Watch Committee, state level Co-ordination Committee for Crop Insurance, state level Technical Committee on Sujala Watershed and Technical Committee on Climate Change Initiatives (EMPRI). He is a member of Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, Technical committee of Karnataka State Ground Water Authority, general body of Karnataka Science and Technology Promotion Society (KSTePS),  Expert Committee for Cloud Seeding Operations in Karnataka and State Ground Water Co-ordination Committee (SGWCC). He is serving as member in Technical Committee for issue of crop advisories in Karnataka State, Technical Committee on Interstate Water Disputes and Technical Committee to implement National Cyclone Risk Mitigation project.

Abstract: Karnataka state is highly vulnerable to drought. In the last 13 out of 16 years (2002-2018), most parts of Karnataka has been subjected to severe drought. The successive drought condition has resulted in shortage of water for drinking, irrigation, etc. Also, groundwater levels are depleting and quality of water is getting deteriorated.
Most important component in management of drought is related to weather system – its monitoring, forecasting and adopting. Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has taken proactive measures and has built a robust mechanism with a multi-disciplinary approach to provide Science and Technology based solution to tackle drought in Karnataka. The state-of-the-art ICT tools are being used extensively at the level of data collection, converting data into information, identifying and mapping vulnerable areas, forecast-alert-advisory dissemination to the end-user.
KSNDMC has designed and installed a dense network of Solar Powered & GPRS enabled Telemetric Rain Gauge (TRG) stations covering all the 6425 Grampanchayaths (~25 sq km each) and Telemetric Weather Station (TWS) at all the 747 Hoblis (~250 sq km each) and 173 micro-watersheds to collect data and information on factors triggering drought or flood. . The weather data thus collected at every 15 minutes through these weather monitoring stations, analyzed at near-real time, maps and reports are being generated and disseminated to the customized users through auto-mode. The necessary web-applications has been developed in-house.
The customized alerts/early warnings, weather information, forecast and advisories are being disseminated through email, SMS, dynamic web-portal, social media, electronic and print media. The weather related information, forecast and advisories are disseminated directly to the farmers, through interactive help-desk “VARUNA MITRA” on 24 x 7 basis. It is helping the farmers to plan their agricultural activities, minimize the crop loss due to any weather aberration. The initiatives taken up by KSNDMC have been helping the stakeholders for planning and executing drought mitigation measures at micro-level, to adopt resilient agriculture practice and efficient water management techniques.


Name of the prof. amruturSpeaker: Prof. Bharadwaj Amrutur

Title of the Seminar: Challenges for City Scale Multi-Sensor Anlaytics

Date and Time: 29th March, 2019 (Friday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. Bharadwaj Amrutur is a Professor in ECE Department and Chairs the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems, IISc Bangalore. After completing his B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering in 1990 from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, he did his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1994 from Stanford University, USA. Thereafter, he pursued his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1999 from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract: Cities and Utilities have started deploying connected sensors as part of their smart cities effort. Examples include pollution sensors in Pune, water sensors by BWSSB, smart electricity meters, smart water meters etc. However there is still a large gap in terms of general understanding of how to do this deployment in the most cost effective manner, while extracting the maximum value out of the data. He discussed some of the technical gaps in sensor fabrication, sensor calibration, deployment optimization, data access and multi-sensor analytics and talked on some of his team’s ongoing work in the context of air quality sensors and pilot activities in Pune and Electronics City.

Dr. Sharad Lele1Name of the Speaker: Dr. Sharachchandra (Sharad) Lele

Title of the Seminar: Reforming Water Governance: Philosophy, Hydrology and Institutional Analysis

Date and Time: 20th February, 2019 (Wednesday), 4:00PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Sharachchandra (Sharad) Lele got a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering in IIT Bombay (1984) but then decided that environmental studies were more exciting and socially relevant. So, he did an M.S. on the environmental impacts of large dams at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (1987) and then a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley (1993), focusing on forest use in the Western Ghats.

Abstract: Karnataka, like most of the peninsular states in India, is facing a serious water crisis. Basins have closed, groundwater is depleting, baseflows have dried up, and existing water is being inequitably distributed. Conventional responses tend to be supply side, lacking an integrated hydrological understanding, and top-down. A paradigm shift is required in multiple dimensions: the normative goals, the world view, the hydrological underpinnings and the institutional arrangements. He discussed the rationale and key elements of such a paradigm shift and make a case for using an interdisciplinary value-based framework for all efforts in reforming water governance.

Dr. Aditi BhaskarName of the Speaker: Dr. Aditi Bhaskar

Title of the Seminar: Effects of Urban Development on Streamflow

Date and Time: 1st January, 2019 (Tuesday), 4:00 PM

Venue: Lecture Hall, ICWaR

Dr. Aditi Bhaskar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University.  She specializes in changes to hydrologic systems from urban development, with a focus on interactions between groundwater, streams, stormwater, and landscape irrigation. She recieved her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Abstract: Urban development consists of a collection of processes that have variable effects on water budgets, groundwater recharge, and stream flow flow.  Some of the processes that were focused on in this seminar are infiltration of storm water, changes to evapotranspiration, lawn irrigation, water supply pipe leakage, impervious surface cover, and infiltration of groundwater into wastewater pipes.  The methods used to investigate these drivers of urban base flow have been data analysis, field data collection, and mathematical modeling. Watershed-scale storm water infiltration was implemented as part of low impact development in a watershed that was converted to suburban development in Clarksburg, Maryland, USA.  Stream base and total flow both were found to increase during development, relative to flow in reference urban and forested watersheds.  The driving processes are suggested to be a reduction in vegetative cover and evapotranspiration, and an increase in focused groundwater recharge with watershed-scale storm water infiltration.  In Baltimore, Maryland, USA, water supply pipe leakage and impervious surface cover were found to be less important drivers of subsurface storage compared to infiltration of groundwater into wastewater pipes. Current work on drivers of urban base flow focusing on semi-arid areas were discussed.