Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala University to generate own drinking water

The project envisages converting a wetland into a massive water storage area.

The project envisages converting a wetland into a massive water storage area.  

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Project to end water woes on Karyavattom campus; varsity to save Rs.1 crore

In what is being billed as a solution to the perennial water woes of its Karyavattom campus, the University of Kerala has drawn up a two-phase project for watershed management and drinking water production on the dry and dusty campus.

If things go according to plan, the campus will generate its own treated and purified drinking water by the end of 2015. This will also result in an annual saving of Rs.1 crore for the varsity; this is the water bill it pays the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) in a year.

The scheme’s architect and the director of the Centre for Geoinformation Science at the varsity V. Prasannakumar told The Hindu that for many decades now, the water supplied by the KWA had proved grossly inadequate to meet the rising demands of the campus. Insufficient groundwater recharge in and around the campus only added bite to this shortage, particularly in the summer months.

Poor water retention

“The undulating terrain of the campus ensures a very high run-off of the rainwater received. Naturally, this results in poor water retention in the catchment area. Our aim is to reverse this. The campus is, in fact, a mini-watershed and an ideal one for an artificial recharge scheme,” Dr. Prasannakumar said.

At the heart of the new scheme is a wetland spanning 0.2 sq km. The project envisages converting this wetland into a massive water storage area. This will be enabled by the construction of a sub-surface dyke and earthen bunds at pre-determined locations. This will be supplemented by the construction of structures such as percolation ponds, gully plugs (channels constructed in such a manner as to allow optimum retention and sinking of water at a point and subsequently a targeted run-off to the storage wetland), and contour bunds.

Dr. Prasannnakumar said the first phase of the scheme — the construction of the various structures — would take up to six months.

“The catch here is that the sub-surface dyke can be constructed only when the water levels in the wetland are at their lowest. If immediate sanction is received for the project, the dyke can be set up, say, in December,” he said.

Water treatment

Once all the artificial recharge structures are in place, the varsity will need to set up a comprehensive water treatment and purification system. The project document goes so far as to assert that once the scheme is up and running, the campus will be able to meet, at least, partially, the drinking water requirements of the adjacent Technopark.

Replacing pipes

The university is engaged in renovating its drinking water distribution pipeline network on the campus. Old GI pipes are being replaced with PVC structures.

And how much will all this cost the varsity? Around Rs.3 crore, Dr. Prasannakumar said. That, he argued, was money well spent if the varsity campus ended up being self-sufficient in drinking water.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:31:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/kerala-university-to-generate-own-drinking-water/article5829568.ece

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