German-Indian CONNECT CCRBF project activities on natural water treatment techniques
March 22 is World Water Day that celebrates water and raises awareness of people living without access to safe water. On this occasion, a brief report is given on the BMBF- CONNECT programme’s German-Indian network-project “CCRBF – Expansion of the Indo-German Competence Centre for Riverbank Filtration”.
The CCRBF project aims to strengthen research and education in water management between Germany and India with a focus on riverbank filtration (RBF), managed aquifer recharge and constructed wetlands (CW). The 15-partner CCRBF consortium is coordinated by the Division of Water Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Dresden (HTW Dresden/ HTWD).
German CCRBF partners HTWD (Dr. C. Sandhu and Prof. T. Grischek) and TU Dresden (Dr. H. Börnick and Prof. S. Stolte, Institute of Water Chemistry) were in India from end February to mid-March 2023 for water sampling and field investigations at RBF and CW demonstration sites in Goa, Guwahati, Varanasi, Chandigarh and Agra, project consultations with Indian partners and stakeholders and gave a total of 12 lectures at workshops, meetings and dissemination events in Chennai, Goa and Kokrajhar. In Chennai, the focus is on seasonal infiltration of rainwater and surface water to prevent salinization of coastal groundwater resources and on constructed wetlands in collaboration with Indian CCRBF partners Anna University (Prof. L. Elango and Prof. C. Laxmi Narasimhan) and the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability at IIT Madras (Prof. L. Philip). 40 persons participated in the “Workshop on nature-based water management techniques in coastal aquifers”, organised by IIT Madras and Anna University on 24 and 25 February. The participants included young researchers and students from these two institutions, resource persons from the CCRBF consortium and practitioners from the Water Resources Department of Tamil Nadu, Central Ground Water Board and Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board.
In Goa, wells have been built by CCRBF partner TERI (Ms. K. Patil) whose pumps are powered by photovoltaic modules during the day to provide irrigation water for vegetable cultivation. To avoid contaminants in the vegetables, the water is pumped from bank filtration wells instead of being taken directly from the river, which is contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms and organic micropollutants. A workshop was organised by TERI and Water Resources Department of Goa on February 27 and the investigation of potential RBF sites to improve the water quality for irrigation was discussed.
At a RBF well in Dakhin Pakur near Guwahati, the inauguration of the onsite electrolysis plant for drinking water disinfection installed by the German CCRBF partner AUTARCON took place on March 1. An information board at the well informs the public about the RBF and onsite electrolysis process. CCRBF partners Bineswar Brahma Engineering College in Kokrajhar (BBEC, Dr. M. Ronghang), HTWD, TUD and AUTARCON are developing the well into a RBF demonstration site within the CCRBF project and the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) of the Ministry of Jal Shakti (Water Resources, Government of India) in cooperation with the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) of Assam. In JJM, every household is to receive its own drinking water connection by 2024. Each person in the household is to be provided with at least 55 litres of drinking water per day. In comparison, drinking water consumption in Dresden is around 100 litres per inhabitant per day, while in Germany the average is 127 litres per inhabitant per day. Subsequently, more than 300 guests attended a science session of the CCRBF project on March 2 at the Bodoland International Knowledge Festival in Kokrajhar (BIKF). BBEC presented a RBF model and students' projects at the BIKF fair. An impromptu seminar at BBEC with students in the undergraduate civil engineering program was also very well received. After Kokrajhar, HTWD conducted field work and water sampling in Varanasi, where CCRBF partners Banaras Hindu University (Dr. V. Mishra, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development), University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (Prof. J. Nowak) and the German SME AKUT Umweltschutz Ingenieure Burkard und Partner are developing a constructed wetland demonstration site. Subsequently HTWD and National Institute of Hydrology in Roorkee (Dr. G. Krishan) investigated a potential site for RBF near Chandigarh and conducted water sampling at the RBF demonstration site under development in Agra.
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