DHI IT technology provides India with water

The Ministry of Water Resources in India have just recently signed a 6.6 million euro contract with DHI to deliver complete decision support systems. The systems will provide the authorities with more efficient tools to manage the water resources and contribute to solve the significant challenges ahead...

Nov. 27, 2008 -- The Ministry of Water Resources in India have just recently signed a 6.6 million euro contract with DHI to deliver complete decision support systems. The systems will provide the authorities with more efficient tools to manage the water resources and contribute to solve the significant challenges ahead.

'We see it as a huge and exciting challenge to help one of the world's most populous nations obtain and distribute water for irrigation, hydropower and supply in the best possible manner' says Jacob Høst-Madsen, Head of Department, DHI and adds 'with the IT technology we are transferring to India the resources can be exploited more expediently and that is exactly what is required'.

India has a quickly expanding economy, which however is hampered by an inadequate power production and infrastructure. Water is another central issue. Projections indicate that by 2020 the demand for water will exceed the accessible resources. However access to water is already today an issue causing problems amongst the countries in the region and various states.

The primary power production stems from coal fuelled thermal power stations, while 26% of the total production stems from hydropower. According to the World Bank only 23% of the potential hydropower is exploited. With support from the World Bank the Government is working towards increasing this to 40% and plans are that by 2012 the entire population has access to electricity. Today 40% of the population do not have access to electricity. Dams also play a vital role when it comes to irrigation and water supply as the use of groundwater vastly exceeds the reserves. Climate changes are expected to result in fewer but more intense days with rain and at the same time the melting of the Himalayan glaciers will increase. Periods with drought and flooding are expected to increase.

Managing the water
In the northwestern part of India hydropower and irrigation of vast agricultural areas has been developed since the fifties. DHI is to deliver decision support systems for which will be used to regulate the existing dams and provide the information required to make the right decisions, thereby utilizing the available resources in an optimal manner. The two large dams Bhakra and Beas are supplied with water from the rivers Satluj and Beas and are among the world's largest reservoir systems. At the same time they supply one of the world's largest irrigation systems with water for agriculture use. Satluj has its source in Tibet where more than a third of the catchment is to be found. The new decision support systems will make it possible to utilize the available water more efficiently and reduce the risk of flooding and drought. The system is based on a number of observations, measurements and computational models.

Measurements and models
A number of gauging stations are already established which collect meteorological, hydrological and hydraulic data. This data is used by the computational models to predict water levels and flow. As a vast area of the catchment lies within Tibet, where it is not possible to establish gauging stations, satellite images of the snow coverage combined with the ambient temperature are used in the forecasting models to predict the water contribution. Two different models are used. One model provides forecasts a couple of days ahead with high accuracy while another provides more general forecasts covering a couple of months ahead. These forecasting models make is possible to secure both water supply and hydropower production much better than what has been possible earlier. The project is expected to take five years and is carried out in close collaboration with amongst others local partners.

Integrated planning
At the same time DHI is to assist a number of states by establishing a more overall decision support system which will provide the authorities with a tool to utilize the limited water resources in a sustainable manner. The system is able to identify which periods are most suitable for utilizing surface water and groundwater for irrigation purposes and by the same time taking environmental conditions into consideration. This ensures coherent planning and efficient management of the resources. Once completed it will be possible to feed in information to the system or extracted information while out in the field using a common PDA.

Collaboration
The projects are financed by the World Bank as one of the many initiatives, which will ensure a better and more stable supply of water and electricity. DHI has since 1985 worked on Danish aid, DANIDA, projects in India and has later established a fast expanding office in New Delhi. DHI has a close and constructive collaboration with numerous authorities in India as well as with a number of local partners.

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