Water Resources Development : The Role of Roorkee

The establishment of Thomason college at Roorkee in 1847 is itself linked to construction of upper Ganga canal, the most important irrigation project being undertaken at the time. In his propoasal submitted to the supreme goverment on 23rd September 1847, the Lt .Governor James Thomason,had justified the location on the basis that the establishement forming at Roorkee, near the Solani Aquedict on the Ganga canal affords particular facilities for instructing Civil Engineers.

Since its establishement the instititution has made important contributions in the field of water resources through work done on the campus as well as by its alumini. In thier proffesional carrier. In the last century when the basic foundations of Civil Engineering were being laid the college published among others a manual on irrigation Engineering. Allan Cunningham,Who was Assistant Principal of the College for over Eleven Years(1964-65, 1870-80) carried out meticulous experiments on the flow of on the flow of water in the ganga canal near Roorkee with a view to Correlate the discharge with channel parameters.The results were complied and published in 1879 and attracted and attracted ed and notice in Europe and America.Following the damage to the then recently completed Khanki weir in 1895 weir in 1895 experiments were carried out at Thomason college by thr then principal ,Col John Clibborn on the flow of water through soils with a view to ascertain the criteria of designing weirs on previous foundations. For the first time an understanding of the problems of uplift presssures and piping was gained.

One of the most distinguished products of Roorkee college was Sir William Willocks who passed with First Position in 1872. with First position in 1872.He designed and built Aswan Dam on the Nile during 1883 to 1908 and Hindia Dam on Eupharates in Iraq from 1908 to 1911. Another illustrious alumnus who distinguished himself in the field of himself in the field of water reseources was Raja Jwala prasad who passed with first in 1900 and joined U.P Irrigation.He is known for his work of building the campus of Banaras Hindu University ity but he was also responsible for preparing Ganga Canal Hydroelectric Scheme implemented later.

A towering and multifaced personality was Dr. A.N. Khosla who passed in 1916. He made a name in the the field of Research through his work on seepage theory and design of weirs on permeable foundations He was appointed the first chairmen of the newly constituted Central Waterways,Irrigatuion and Navigation Commision in 1945 and developed it into a front rank organisation. When Bhakra control ol board was set up in 1950, Dr Khosla was appointed its Vice Chairman and Chairman of the board of of Consultants. He remained associated with the project till its commisioning in 1963.He served as the Vice Chancellor of the University from 1954 to 1959 and virtually transformed it from a small though reputed college to a leading technical university. In 1962 he was appointed Governor of Orissa the first and so far the only proffesional engineer to have been given such a responsibility.

Gerald Lacey well known throughout the world for his regime concept for canals and alluvial ri vers was Proffesors of Civil Engineering during 1915-17 ,1928-32 and 1945-46 and Principal during ing 1945-46.

Another name worth nothing is that of Dr Kanwar Sain who passed in 1922. He was responsible for planning of the gigantic planning of the gigantic Rajasthan Canal project still under completion. For nine years he wor ked on the planning of the complex Mekong River project under the auspices of the United Nations.

The First two post-graduate engineering courses in the country were started by Roorkee University in 1954-55. One of the cources was in Hydralic Engineering and the other in Structural Engg A well equipped Hydraulics Laboratory was established in 1959-60 and continued to be developed and and modernised according to need and growth in the subject.Soon research activity gathered mom entum and the hydraluics group made a name of itself particulary in the field of Fluvial Hydrau ulics. Commendable work was also done in other aspects of open channel Hydraulics, boundary losses,turbulence and seepage flow/. losses, turbulence and seepage flow.

A major step in the water resources field was taken with the establishement of Water resources Development Training Centre(WRDTC) in 1955. It was assisted by U.N. and U.S. Techanical cooperation Mission but funds for the building were provided by Goverment of India ,who also accept ed the responsibility for recurring expences. The objective of the centre was to train enginee rs in all aspects of water reseources development and to carry out research in this area. Up to 1996 the Centre provided Post graduate, Education and training to 1870 serving engineers includ ding 1240 from all states of india and the rest from 38 developing countries. The centre has made a major contribution in giving the University an international image. The Centre has not confined itselfto Confined itself to training alone but also pursued active research/doctoral progrramme. Notablec contributions have been made in the areas of seepage flow, Systems approach to planning of water reseources projects; and design of dams, hydropower houses and other hydraulic structures.

An international Post-graduate programme specifically in Hydrology was started in 1971 in WRDTC but but was soon given autonomy as a seperate departement. It has so far trained 351 Indian and 214 foreign engineers,the latter from 33 different countries around the world. An active research progrrame progrramme both in surface and ground water hydrology is also being persued.

In 1982 Alternate Hydro-Energy centre was set up at the University by the Goverment of India to promote small hydro and other decentralised reneawable energy systems. The centre is recognised for for its expertise in the area and is being utilised for advisory and consultancy services by various organisations in the country. The U.P irrigation Research Institution was established at Roorkee to be in proximity to the college llege. Therwe is now a large establishement of Research and design engineers of U.P.Irrigation Departement at Roorkee.

Thus Thomason College and Univwersity of Roorkee have provided the stimulus to have the greatest co concertation of Expertise in the country in Hydralauic Engineering at Roorkee. This expertise is at the service of the Nation.

Bharat Singh

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