Public lecture

Date : 27-01-2020
Time : 18:00:00
Speaker : Dr R D Deshpande
Venue : K R Ramanathan Auditorium, PRL, Ahmedabad


The contemporary hydrology is faced with great challenges of resolving known problems of water scarcity, anthropogenic pollution, geogenic contamination, dwindling surface flows, inequitable distribution and salinity ingression. The scientific processes underlying these hydrological problems are well understood and can be mitigated by appropriate field engineering measures, treatment technologies, improved water use efficiency and policy interventions. However, these problems have not been completely resolved yet. Beyond these known problems, that we are still grappling with, lies a mind-boggling ignorance about certain aspects of hydrological processes, their natural course and response to perturbing stimuli. In particular, the hydrological response to climate change, engineered interventions and anthropogenic perturbations are not well understood because of longer response time of natural hydrological systems. India is world’s largest user of groundwater, the 90% of which is used for agriculture. Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. About 70 percent of its rural households depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture sector also accounts for ~18% of total electricity consumption in India and contributes to ~15% of GDP. Thus, There is a complex relationship between water resources, social health and economy of India. Therefore, any undesirable change in hydrology of India needs to be monitored and prevented. Hydrological responses to natural and man-made changes are sluggish and silent. Therefore, adverse hydrological and ecological effects are often noticed only when it is too late and too difficult to recover. This ignorance about hydrological response poses greatest challenge for scientists, engineers, planners and policy makers, and defines the frontier of research. Modern humans have solved many difficult problems but water is more challenging, because it is not as simple as it seems. Some of the above aspects will be discussed in the talk.