Gurgaon: Pictures of cars in bonnet-deep water on Golf Course Road had flooded the Internet during the monsoon last year. Rainwater had gushed into one of its seven underpasses and the city’s central boulevard — a totem of both its achievements and ambitions — was subsumed by its chornic drainage problem.
This year, Golf Course Road was the silver lining in the flooding that followed Monday’s rainfall in most other parts of the city. The road ans its underpasses were not affected by monsoon’s first heavy rainfall, an early indication that a move by GMDA and IAMGurgaon, an NGO, to build four drainage channels to divert water flowing from the Aravalis into natural creeks had been successful. Experts, however, said they would wait to see if the plan would stand up to heavy rain.
The four drainage channels have been built in sectors 26, 42, 54 and 56. The water from these drains flow into the natural creeks, which have been widened and made deeper to hold more water. Since these creeks are at a higher elevation, they absorbed much of the rainwater on Monday and stopped it from flowing into Golf Course Road. This also reduced pressure on the Badshahpur drain.
“The move has reduced stormwater runoff by almost 50%. In Gurgaon, flooding never occurred only because of the runoff from the Aravalis. We had to identify the bottlenecks in the natural creeks, make them wider and deeper so that they could hold more water. This took pressure off the Badshahpur drain, which gets flooded during the monsoon and inundates the nearby areas,”said Subhas Yadav, nodal officer (environment and sustainability wing) at GMDA.
Several native species, such as Pilkhan, Goolar, Neem, Baheda and Arjun, have also been planted around these creeks so that the soil doesn’t become loose and the embankments don’t give away.
The brain behind the move is a team of researchers from the Teri School of Advanced Studies. After last year’s flooding, GMDA had commissioned the Teri school a three-month study to find out the reasons and ways to stop water flowing from the higher reaches into Golf Course Road.
“We carried out a survey between September and December last year and shared our findings and recommendations with the GMDA. They acted upon them immediately and the result is there for you to see this monsoon. However, our study was restricted to Golf Course Road,” said Fawzia Tarannum, assistant professor at the department of regional water studies at the TERI school.
Latika Thukral of IAMGurgaon explained why the decision to make the creeks deeper would work this monsoon. “The Gurgaon-Faridabad highway and MG Road are 200 metres above Golf Course Road. So, rainwater would invariably gush into Golf Course Road. Now that the creeks have been made wider and deeper, they have a good capacity to carry the stormwater. The sand and silt at the bed of these creeks would also allow seepage,” she added.
Environmentalists, however, said they would adopt a wait and watch policy to see if the plan holds its ground during heavy rain. “GMDA should get experts to review the plan. They should plant long grass along the creeks so that the soil doesn’t become loose and water seeps into it. We are not sure if the plan will work in case of heavy rain. Let’s see,” said Vaishali Rana Chandra, an environmentalist. Residents, meanwhile, heaved a sigh of relief to see Golf Course Road unaffected by Monday’s rain. “This is a nice initiative by GMDA. Their plan has saved our area from getting flooded this time,” said Rahul Chandola, a resident of DLF 1.Read More
KOLKATA: Souryadeep Basak from Kolkata and Lavkesh Balchandani from Indore,classmates at Teri School of Advanced Studies, have won a bronze in the grand final of the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, a prestigious global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access.
The duo, who became engineers in 2018 and are currently pursuing Masters in Renewable Energy Engineering & Management, have designed a community level solar-powered hydroponic fodder unit for rural areas. The model developed by Basak and Balchandani essentially uses soil-less technology to accelerate cultivation of green fodder. “A combination of passive solar cultivation, evaporative cooling and hydroponics (agriculture using water and nutrients) to grow 6-8kg of green fodder from 1kg seeds. This will lead to the improvement of the rural economy by reducing dependence on agriculture,” Basak said.
It was news of farmer suicides that prompted them to take up the project. “Since farmers are dependent on agricultural income that depends on increasingly erratic weather patterns, they suffer losses. Our model aims to build resilience in the rural economy by diversifying their income,” explained Balchandani.
What the two classmates intended to do was feed the green fodder grown using hydroponics instead of agricultural waste to improve their nourishment and increase milk productivity that can then be sold. To supplement income further, they propose use of the agri-waste to cultivate mushrooms that can be dried and stored for sale and production of exotic vegetables and herbs, fruits and flowers in greenhouses. Basak and Balchandani have set up a prototype at Teri (The Energy and Resources Institute) SAS. After completing the Masters, Basak intends to do a PhD on the project and set up a pilot study in a village near Canning that is among the places most vulnerable to climate change.
“I want to do the study in a village with 200 cows, of which 100 will be given the green fodder diet and the rest continue on the agri-waste feed. This will help find out how much milk production improves. The aim is to start community level development with preference to widows of farmers who have committed suicide due to agriculture distress,” explained Basak.Read More
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Souryadeep Basak and Lavkesh Balchandani, students of TERI School of Advanced Studies, won the bronze in the grand final event of the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge—a global, multi-disciplinary competition which empowers university students to help boost clean energy access.
Founded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation, the challenge enables students to come up with energy-efficient technologies for countries middle income countries. The aims of the competition include promoting innovation in off-grid appliance sector, and improving the job prospects of the participants by offering them a chance to design appliances.
Basak and Balchandani won the award for designing a community level solar-powered hydroponic fodder unit for rural areas. The design uses the hydroponic method to grow green fodder, helping to increase crop yields six-fold when compared to traditional methods.
Students from 21 universities from across the world, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Sweden, Uganda and the UK, participated in the challenge.
The final of the event was held on Monday.
The participants showcased their projects to 150 representatives from various aid agencies, foundations, and academics among others, reports iamrenew.
“It is encouraging to see such innovative and inspiring entries to the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge. I offer my congratulations to the winning teams who demonstrate an outstanding ability to tackle the climate emergency through exceptional and inventive designs," Mike Thornton, chief executive, Energy Saving Trust, was quoted as saying.
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