By-Sanjay Kumar,14 July:The Government has launched Hydrology Project (HP) with the main objective to improve the institutional and organizational arrangements, technical capabilities and physical facilities available for measurement, validation, collection, analysis, transfer and dissemination of hydrological, hydro-meteorological and water quality data for basic water resource evaluation within the concerned agencies at Central Government level and in the participating states.
The World Bank has given credit assistance of 90.1 million Special Drawing Rights (US $ 142 million) for the project. Besides, under the bilateral India-Dutch agreement, the Government of Netherlands is providing a grant-in-aid assistance of 29.9 million Dutch guilders (US $ 17.4 million) in the form of Technical Assistance as consultancy services and overseas training to all participating states and Central agencies. The Project is being implemented in nine States viz; Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamilnadu and five Central agencies viz; Central Water Commission (CWC), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Central Water and Power Research Station, National Institute of Hydrology and India Meteorological Department.
Project Objectives and Scope
The Project would upgrade and expand the physical infrastructure through construction of observation site works and buildings, and provisions of measuring instrumentation and equipment and laboratory facilities. The Project would introduce novel equipments like Automatic Water Level Recorders, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers for Surface and Groundwater Observation Systems and Atomic Absorption Specto-Photometer, Gas Chromatograph, UV Spectrometer for surface and Groundwater quality monitoring.
The Project would help in the development of interactive computerized data banks within CWC’s and CGWB’s Regional Offices and the State agencies responsible for surface water and groundwater hydrological data collection. These Division of Soil Conservations(DSCs) will be linked through state-of-the-art communication system. Separate National Data Centres will be established at CWC and CGWB headquarters for Surface water and Groundwater respectively with high bandwidth connectivity to the Catalogue Web Server (CWS) to be provided at NIC (HQ) at New Delhi. The State Data Centers as well as CGWB regional databanks will have interactive data bases with the National Data Center. The above arrangement would help to develop comprehensive, easily accessed and user-friendly data bases covering all aspects of the hydrological cycle including surface water and groundwater in terms of quality and climatic measurements. The state-of-the-art computer hardware and software and communication systems would be provided on the project for this purpose.
The project would introduce standard procedures for data collection, processing, validation and management including the use of software for routine quality control and general water resources analysis. This necessitates development of qualified staff for all hydrological activities with wide understanding of hydrological data evaluation. The training program envisaged under the project will ensure that these standardize procedures are followed uniformly throughout the project area and the staff capabilities developed during the project period by continuous internal training within the agencies are sustainable without further external support.
Coordination and Monitoring Arrangements
Considering the number of agencies involved in project implementation, extensive coordination and monitoring arrangements have been put in place both at Central and State level. At Central level, a National Level Steering Committee (NLSC) has been set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Water Resources) with representation at Secretary level of all participating State Governments and the Central Agencies. The NLSC resolves project policy and strategy and generic implementation issues. Under the NLSC, a National Coordination Committee (NCC) has been set up chaired by Member (RM) of Central Water Commission. The NCC deals with matters relating to overall project coordination and acts in an advisory capacity to the project coordinating groups at state level. In addition, a Project Coordination Secretariat (PCS) has been set up in the WM Wing of Ministry of Water Resources to provide secretarial assistance to NLSC and NCC and to undertake day-to-day administration and management of project implementation. The World Bank also monitors the project implementation by launching supervision missions at regular intervals. The HP consultants are also assisting in the project implementation. The coordination and monitoring arrangements have also been set-up in the States.
The Project on completion is envisaged to generate substantial benefits by improving the water resources and climate data base of the participating agencies, and making data easily available to legitimate users from computerized data banks. The reliable water data, with adequate coverage in content, time and space is the foundation on which all water resource planning, development and management exercises are based. The improved hydrological and hydro-meteorological information would help in making reliable and economic – a) investment decisions in which water resources availability is a dominant determinate (i.e. irrigated agriculture, water supply and sanitation, industrial water use, etc.) and b) operational decisions in existing enterprises in which water is an essential input to achieve predicted impact.
Project Implementation Progress
The six year project is designed to complete all infrastructure facilities for observation stations, laboratories and data centers during the first half of the project and to improve data collection, storage, transfer and usage facilities during the second phase. An expenditure of Rs. 354.39 crore was incurred by all the agencies upto March, 2001. During 2001-2002, an expenditure of about Rs. 70.90 crore was incurred upto February 2002, raising the total cumulative expenditure incurred under the project upto February 2002 to Rs. 425.5 crore or 69 per cent of the revised project total cost (Rs. 616.22 crore). The major reasons that had held up the project in the initial years are: a) delay in project commencement – the actual project implementation commenced from April, 1996 instead of September, 1995 because of delay in administrative clearances, b) difficulty on the part of implementing agencies in getting accustomed to World Bank procurement procedures, (c ) certain policies of the State/Central Government e.g. ban on creation of new posts and procurement of new vehicles, d) lack of experience in the country over the usage of hi-tech equipment, to be procured under the project, and e) delay in transfer of Government land for buildings.
Most of the above issues having been resolved the project is now firmly on rails. In 90 per cent of the project duration upto February 2002 the financial progress achieved is 69 per cent (on revised Project total cost). The physical progress realized is much higher as over 99 per cent of the hydrological and meteorological sites have been put under operation with 84 per cent of the enhanced equipment and trained staff as envisaged under the project in position. With the present state of preparedness and actions already taken on procurement, it is hoped that the envisaged physical infrastructure would be in place within the project duration.
*Media & Communications Officer, PIB, New Delhi