Author : Sukanta Chatterji
The Central Water and Power Research Station (CPWRS) is going to celebrate its centenary on September 16, 2016. On this date, hundred years back, it was founded as a world-class centre of excellence in hydraulic engineering research and allied areas; which would be responsive to changing global scenario and need for sustaining and enhancing excellence in providing technological solutions for optimal and safe design of water resources structures. The institution which comes under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, is a UN Recognized Regional Laboratory for Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) since 1971.
The CWPRS serves three major sectors: Water Resources; Hydro Power; and Ports and Waterways.
It conducts applied research to provide sound and economic solutions for River Engineering, Reservoir and Appurtenant Structures, Hydraulic Machinery, Costal Engineering, Earth Sciences and Foundation and Structures.
The Pune based Central Water and Power Research Station was set up initially as a “Special Irrigation Cell” in June, 1916 by the then Bombay Presidency. It has continued to serve for 100 years by catering to the research and development needs for evolving safe and economical planning and design of water resources structures, river engineering, hydropower generation, and coastal engineering projects fulfilling the mandate of ‘Service to the Nation through Research’.
Just like a river, which acquires depth over time and contributes to making its surroundings lush and productive, the CWPRS has also grown from strength to strength over the years of its existence. Almost all important projects of irrigation, hydropower, water supply, navigation and ports have imprints of this institution. Owing to its receptivity towards incorporating new technology with the changing times, the CWPRS’s journey has continued ceaselessly over a century, earning it the stature of a world-class water and power research institution.
Considering the infrastructure and expertise available, CWPRS has been identified under ‘World Bank aided National Hydrology Project‘, as a Nodal Agency for providing overall guidance on hydro-meteorological and water quality equipments selection, commissioning and quality control to all States/Union Territories. In this Centenary Year, CWPRS is also opening new divisions for undertaking systematic studies on River Rejuvenation, for prioritizing actions for optimum results, dissemination of traditional water wisdoms through development of appropriate models, for up scaling across the country and Disaster Management Planning.
The mission of the CWPRS is to meet the country’s need for basic and applied research in water resources, power sector and coastal engineering with excellent standards. Its mission also includes to develop competence in deployment of latest technologies by networking with the top institutions globally and to meet the future needs for development of water resources projects in the country effectively. The CWPRS, along with these missions, aims to disseminate information, build skills and knowledge for capacity-building and mass awareness for optimization of available water resources.
Apart from the fact that it is a premier research institute in hydraulics and allied areas in water and power sector, it has multidisciplinary expertise to provide R&D solutions to the problems associated with water resources, power and coastal projects.
The CWPRS has close association with all major River Valley Projects, Port Developments,and ther Organizations.
The major functions of the CWPRS are to undertake specific research studies relating to development of water resources, power and coastal projects, consultancy and advisory services to Central and State Governments, private sector and other countries. It also disseminates research findings and promoting/assisting research activities in other organizations concerned with water resources projects. The Institute contributes to Bureau of Indian Standards and International Standards Organization; carrying out basic and applied research to support the specific studies.
It has provided expertise in Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Sardar Sarovar Dam Project, Chilka Lake and on River Yamuna to name a few.
Major activity of CWPRS is the project specific applied research supported by necessary basic research in three major sectors, viz. water resources, power, and coastal engineering. CWPRS receives references mainly from Central/ State Government Organizations, Public/ Private Sector Agencies/ Organizations/ Undertakings, Port Trusts, Municipal Corporations, etc.
At any given time, on an average about 250 site specific studies are in progress at the research Station. Important studies carried out during the last some years include studies related to flood control, Hydraulic Analysis, studies about Bridges, Barrages, Weirs, River Training-Diversion and morphological changes. Similarly studies have also been carried out in the field of River and Reservoir Systems and also studies in Physico-Chemical Methods for Water Quality Surface Water Hydraulics etc. Apart from these, studies conducted on Hydraulic Designs of Shipways and on the development of Ports and Harbours have been of great significance. Equally important were studies conducted in the field of Applied Earth Sciences which included work related to Geophysics, Earthquake Engineering etc and also on development of Hydraulic Instruments etc.
In the Centenary Year of the CWPRS, the country needs to know the vast capabilities along with the facilities that this premier institution can deliver to the nation.
* Author is Senior freelance journalist who writes of developmental issues.