Institute of Hydraulics & Hydrology is where river inter-linking project is being given final touches

Set against the backdrop of Poondi reservoir in Tiruvallur district, the nearly 70-year-old Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology of Water Resources Department often goes unnoticed. But, it is here that the State government's ambitious project of inter-linking of rivers is being given final touches.

Hidden between greenery, the institute seems more like an upcoming construction project with masons mixing concrete or building walls. But, a close look reveals that the 30-acre campus has models of several irrigation projects implemented across the State.

The designs of the projects are referred to the institute where they are studied for flaws and impacts before being approved.

At present, the model study of diversion of excess water from Tamiraparani river to Pachaiayar river is being done to experiment the stability of the structure to be built against the river's velocity. Another ongoing study is to build spur, a structure to protect Vellar river bank and contain flood water in Vridachalam, Cuddalore district. Water is released into the scale model of the project to check flood behaviour.

It was here that the means to measure average volume of Krishna water received through the Kandaleru-Poondi canal was assessed through a model study.

Many coastal projects, including construction of sea wall along Ennore Expressway, were studied at the institute.

The decision to construct groynes in the Cooum river estuary was taken after a study conducted at the institute founded in 1944. Materials used for shore protection are also tested in the labs.

Officials said there are nearly 30 models of various projects in the campus. As there was a space constraint, many models are demolished to give way to new ones. Some working models of schemes taken up in 1970s and 1980s are still retained on the campus.

“We even observe the coastal changes of Tamil Nadu coastline twice a month. This data helps in implementing projects in disaster-struck areas,” an official said.

The institute also holds interesting display for students pursuing engineering courses. Students from at least two colleges visit the campus every week.

Besides learning about Poondi reservoir and Mettur dam through their miniatures exhibited, they also get to understand the working of irrigation systems- their catchment area, canals, storage and purposes.

A research library housing over 30,000 titles in the campus is often visited by engineering students for reference.