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Rainwater harvesting gets boost in Andhra varsity

Visakhapatnam: With 210 rainwater harvesting pits and two check dams to replenish groundwater, arresting the run-off water, Andhra University is now synonymous to efficient groundwater management.

While close to 140 rainwater harvesting (RWH) pits dot the south campus, another 70 RWH pits and two check dams form a part of the north campus of the institution.

As part of 'Investigation of groundwater dynamics and recharge potential at AU campus, Visakhapatnam' research project, each RWH pit has been built with a capacity of five cubic metres. This apart, five observation wells equipped with automatic water level sensors have also been set up to keep a track of flow patterns on real time basis to monitor water level fluctuations at hourly intervals. Funded and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, the three-year-long project was taken up in 2016. "The project has been completed at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore approximately. The recharged water is not only meeting the needs of various departments and wings of varsity but also the surrounding neighbourhoods such as Sivajipalem, China Waltair, Peda Waltair, Maddilapalem and Pandurangapuram. Already, five lakh people residing in low-lying areas have been benefited from the recharged groundwater," explains AU Vice-Chancellor G Nageswara Rao.

Elaborating further, G V R Srinivasa Rao, Principal investigator of the project and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, AU, says, "Because of the geographical feature of the premises, 70 per cent of the water harvested on the campus joins the groundwater table of the neighbourhoods. With the construction part being completed, the final report of the project is all set to be submitted to the DST in a week's time."

A thorough research and analysis on water conservation was carried out for the project through vertical electrical sounding studies to understand the lithological profile of the grounds.

As an effective means of water conservation and to prepare for the dry weather conditions, Andhra University is also developing two elevated water reservoirs on its south and north campuses. "Each will be developed at a cost of Rs.90 lakh and a capacity of three lakh litres. Tenders have been floated to take up the works for the same," adds the V-C.

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