Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology, Poondi

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The Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology (IHH), Poondi is a research and training institute located in the town of Poondi, Tamil Nadu, India.


The institute was established in 1944 by Er. T.P. Kuttiammu [2] as an Irrigation Research Station at Poondi in Tiruvallur District, 60 km from Chennai, next to Poondi reservoir built over the Kosasthalaiyar River.


The institute was first established for providing a drinking water supply to Chennai city. Er. Kuttiammu made a detailed study of the various research institutes in India regarding the functionality and availability of resources to implement hydraulic as well as geotechnical scale model experiments. Now, the institute is dedicated to research and education in the field of water resources management and hydrological studies. The institute is affiliated with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and is recognized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). It functions under a Director (Superintending Engineer) and a wing of the Water Resources Organisation of the Public Works Department, Tamil Nadu under the control of the Chief Engineer (Designs Research & Construction Support), Chennai.

Prior to the establishment of the institute, real-world field experiments combined with theoretical studies were conducted in the Godavari delta by installing experimental channels to calculate duty, discharge coefficient, velocity using current meters, etc. Due to insufficient water availability on-site at all times, the research activities were dispersed and lacked continuity, delaying the implementation of remedial action. As a result, it was felt that a separate research station needed to be established so that practical studies could be conducted using a hydraulic scale model. Subsequently, model studies were started on various aspects of spillway design in connection with the Tungabhadra dam, under the jurisdiction of the erstwhile Madras Presidency during British rule. With the expansion of research activities, additional infrastructure facilities were found necessary and created. This Research Station served the needs of the whole Madras Presidency, which included the former state of Andhra Pradesh, prior to the reorganization of the States in 1952–1953. Except for around three years, Er. J. I. Coilpillai carried out his duties as its Executive Engineer in place of Er. T. P. Kuttiammu. The siphon spillway design for the Peddaasarapalle tank in Andhra Pradesh was the first model carried out in 1945. Models of several kinds of canal drops that employed the idea of counteracting jets for energy dissipation were also examined. For studying a number of situations of subsoil percolation, uplift, etc., hydraulic and electrical analogy models were adopted. The Institute also conducted model studies, and stability analysis of spillway flows and siphons, and made the following recommendations:

a) A scale model of the Godavari River at Polavaram was built to verify and enhance the cofferdam alignments suggested for the Ramapadasagar Project.

b) Several feasible flow conditions were explored for Krishna and Dowlaishwaramanaicuts’ stability.

c) In relation to the Kistna-Pennar, Lower Bhavani, Tungabhadra, and Malampuzha Projects, several model studies were carried out.

Further fundamental studies were conducted to build overflow spillways, siphons, canal flumes, aqueducts, infiltration galleries, etc. Several maintenance issues that were reported to the station received recommendations for solutions. With the Mettur Dam model as one of its esteemed exhibits, the Research Station took part in the Indian International Engineering Exhibition in 1951 in New Delhi. Under the capable leadership of Er. J. Vishveshwara Rao, the Research Station experienced considerable advancements in its experimental activities following the creation of the new Madras State in 1953. Dr. N. Rajarathinam (Emeritus Professor of Water Resources Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta) worked in the institute as Assistant Engineer in the sixties. A study on the "Design of High Head gates" from this station receives international prominence (CSIR) between 1961 and 1970. As time marched, the station was about to achieve its silver jubilee year [3] and there were various significant studies with physical models undertaken such as:

a) A Periyar hydroelectric system model for enhancing the irrigation tunnel for power generation.

b) Research into model-prototype conformity was done for the Lower Bhavani and Amaravathi Projects.

c) Research on the spillways' discharge characteristics for the Amaravathy and Vaigai Projects

d) Measures developed to prevent caution in the river sluices of Mettur Dam and to safeguard the left abutment of Vilangudibridge.

e) The use of hydraulic models allowed for the resolution of several significant issues that arose during the implementation of the Parambikulam Aliyar Project.

f) Completed studies on the breakwater design for the Tuticorin Harbour Project.

g) Design for the Ennore Thermal Scheme's coolant inlet channel was offered.

h) A scale model was used to study the lower Coloroon Anicut’s discharge characteristics.

The Institute was rechristened from Irrigation Research Station (IRS) to the Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology (IHH) in 1973 [4] to commemorate the Institute's Silver Jubilee under the able leadership of Er. P. Kumarasamy, Executive Engineer. The service rendered by him in bringing the institute to international standards remains unforgettable. The Continuous Resistance Electronic Analog Computer developed by him was very useful for simulating aquifers. He received the Homi Bhabha Fellowship and other honours for this accomplishment. In this time frame, the Watershed Management Board was established, and the Sedimentation Survey of selected reservoirs was started. Several research projects (such as the flood moderation and flood control studies of the Adyar River, etc.) were then sponsored by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. IHH evolved into a full-fledged Directorate during 1981-99 with three divisions headed by Deputy Directors (Executive Engineers): the Hydraulics Division at Poondi, to conduct model studies, Central Schemes and Watershed Management Board (WSMB) at Pollachi, to carry out sedimentation survey works including watershed management studies in reservoirs and major tanks of Tamil Nadu. The Institute has crossed the 75th year of its existence with glorious records of its achievements in the past.

Since then, the Institute has undergone continuous modernization in terms of infrastructure, equipment, computer software, technology, building, fund management, and other aspects. Both physical and numerical models (Bathymetric system) are still considered to study and analyze different modern-day as well as old problems. Er. P. K. Kandaswamy, Er. K. T. Ganapathy, Er. S. Shanmugam, Er. G. Kaliasundaram, Er. M. Jayapalan, Er. D. Khaleel ahmed, Er. S. Prabakaran, Er. D. Panneerselvam, Er. P. K. Suresh, Er. D. Diwakar, and others, are some of the significant people who also served the institute in one or other positions. In 2006, the Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology was merged with the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), another premier research institution in India, to form the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH). The NIH is currently the premier research institute in India in the field of hydrology and water resources and is involved in a wide range of research, training, and technical assistance activities.

Various Model Studies Carried Out by IHH, Poondi

Coastal Process Sites along the Coastline of Tamil Nadu

Irrigation System Model: This model, which is 3600 square meters in size and features a realistic, comprehensive model of a dam that includes Canal head works, Cross drainage works, and other features, makes it easier for many universities, including IIT Madras and Anna University, to host industry visits.

Madras Basin Model: This Model was conceived at the request of the task force constituted by the Government following the flood of 1976 to assess the efficiency of various flood mitigation measures.

Coastal Study - Evaluation Study– Ennore Coast: Construction of a series of 10 groynes from Ennore to Ernavoorkuppam along the coastal area in Madhavaram taluk of Thiruvallur district.

Energy Dissipation Arrangements Studies: Physical model study for ED arrangements for the spillway of the Ulakaruviyar Reservoir

Break Water Structural Stability Study: The proposed breakwater at Poombuhar Fishing Harbour in Nagapattinam district underwent a physical model assessment to determine its hydraulic stability. Concrete accropode units weighing 6.25 tonnes are intended for use in the breakwater.

Mobile Bed Model: Physical model study for river training works (spurs) in Vellar River at T.V.Puthur in Viruthachalam district.

Sedimentation Studies: The on-site practical analysis of large reservoirs to determine how their dead storage capacity is lost over time by the process of silt formation is another key function of this institute. These sedimentation studies are carried out by the Watershed Management Board (WSMB) Division, which has its main office in Pollachi and five sub-divisions operating under it in Ooty, Mettur, Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Pollachi. Sedimentation studies have been done on 111 reservoirs since the WSMB Division was formed, and the findings have been shared with the relevant departmental personnel.


The IHH Poondi campus is spread over more than 14 hectares of area and has state-of-the-art facilities for research and education. The campus includes laboratories for water quality analysis, soil testing, and hydrological modelling. The institute also has a library with a large collection of books and journals related to water resources and hydrology.


The IHH Poondi conducts research on various aspects of water resources management and hydrological studies [5, 6, 7, 8]. The institute has ongoing research projects in areas such as watershed management, groundwater modeling, irrigation systems, and flood management. The research conducted by the institute is aimed at addressing the challenges faced in managing water resources and improving the quality of life of people living in the region. Over the years, the institute has expanded its research activities to include studies on water quality, water pollution, and climate change. The institute has also developed expertise in the design and management of water supply and sanitation systems and has provided technical assistance to various organizations and government agencies in India and abroad.

Training and Education[edit]

The IHH, Poondi provides training and education programs for students, researchers, and professionals in the field of water resources management and hydrology. The institute offers diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate courses in water resources management and hydrological studies. The courses are designed to provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge in the field and prepare them for careers in the water resources sector.


The IHH Poondi collaborates with various national and international organizations in the field of water resources management and hydrological studies. The institute has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with universities and research institutes in countries such as the United States, Australia, and Japan. These collaborations facilitate the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and research resources, and help in advancing the field of water resources management.

Reference Material[edit]

[1] "Google Maps," [Online]. Available:

[2] M. Kottakkunnummal, "T. P. Kuttiammu: How an Irrigation Engineer Shaped Our Present," 2021.

[3] "Brochure on Platinum Jubilee 1944– 2019," IHH Poondi, 2019.

[4] I. H. H. Poondi, "Government of Tamil Nadu, Water Resources Department, Public Works Department, Institute of Hydraulics & Hydrology Poondi," [Online]. Available:

[5] G. Kaliasundaram, D. Balaraman, T. Govindarajan, T. Ramajunam and C. Kaliyaperumal, "An overview of action research programme works in cauvery delta," Irrigation and Power, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 41-50, 1994.

[6] D. A. Sreenivasulu, "A Study on the Coastal Protection System Against Erosion of Bay of Bengal in North Chennai Coast, Tamil Nadu," Nature Environment and Pollution Technology, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 693-696, 2008.

[7] R. S. Sridhar, K. Elangovan and P. K. Suresh, "Long term shoreline oscillation and changes of Cauvery delta coastline inferred from satellite imageries," Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, vol. 37, pp. 79-88, 2009.

[8] P. K. Suresh, D. Panneerselvam, M. Jayapaln and G. Nagaraj, "Shoreline changes along the Poompuhar and Tranquebar coasts of Tamil Nadu," in Indian National Conference on Harbour & Ocean Engineering, Goa, 2004.