National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee

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The Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, houses the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), a renowned research and development organization. With Roorkee serving as its administrative center, it was founded by Prof. S. Ramaseshan as an independent society on 16th December 1978. Prof. S. Ramaseshan was a distinguished civil engineer and water resources expert who worked at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in the Department of Civil Engineering and served as the head of the department from 1973 to 1974. He played a key role in developing the Water Resources Engineering program at the institute and was instrumental in establishing the Ganges Basin Development Research Centre. He has chosen Roorkee as the headquarters because educational institutes and R & D organizations may be found in Roorkee town Bengal Engineering Group of the Army, Central Building Research Institute, and Irrigation Research Institute. The establishment of the National Institute of Hydrology at Roorkee is yet another honor for the historically significant and institutionally important town, which has grown to be India's main center for hydrologists. It is also known as the “Hydrology Hub of India.” Roorkee takes pride in having housed eminent hydrologists like Dr. A. N. Khosla, Dr. R. J. Garde, and Dr. K. G. Rangaraju.

NIH was under the achievement review committee (ARC) from 1978-1988. Further, it functioned as a UNDP project from Feb 1979 to 1984. By 1982 and 1983, it was shifted to Jal Vigyan Bhawan and declared an S&T organization. After five years of establishment, in 1987-1991, regional centers came into existence. The Institute has created four Regional Centres and two Centres for Flood Management Studies (CFMS) in various sections to address the unique hydrological issues in those areas and communicate efficiently with the States. Belagavi (Hard Rock), Kakinada (Deltaic), Jammu (Western Himalayan), Bhopal (Central India Hydrology), Guwahati (Northeastern), Patna (Central Flood Management Studies), and Jodhpur (Northwestern) are only a few of the regional centres that the National Institute of hydrology maintains throughout the nation.

The NIH launched a Dutch experiment called "WAMTARA" in 1990–1992. Furthermore, numerous UNDP, UNESCO, and USAID programs lasted until 1996. The World Bank provided funding to NIH for the first Hydrology Project from 1995 to 2001. The organization celebrated its silver anniversary in 2003. 2009 saw the completion of the National Water Mission's Climate Change cell. 2009 saw the start of the result framework document. That year, NIH organized an international conference on "Water, Environment, Energy, and Society."

They introduced the Assessment Promotion Scheme for Scientists in 2012. NIH earned ISO accreditation that same year. 'Liaison & Coordination Unit' was in Delhi later in 2013. NIH received funding from the EU for the "Saph Pani" research from 2011 to 2014. The third international conference on large rivers and the seventh conference on groundwater were both held in 2017 by the National Institutes of Hydrology. Several current projects from 2016 include the World Bank and Government of India-funded "National Hydrology Project" (MoWR, RD&GR), the World Bank and Government of India-funded "Neeranchal National Watershed Project" (DoLR), and the Government of India-funded "NMSHE" project. The primary goals of NIH are to do systematic, scientific work in all facets of hydrology and support, promote, and organize such work. The results of their research are published as reports and research papers in reputable national and international publications, as well as at seminars and conferences around the world. Technical reports, brochures, pamphlets, state-of-the-art reports, and other publications produced by the Institute are extensively distributed to many user agencies in India and abroad, enhancing the body of hydrologic literature and expertise. The Institute has undertaken various sponsored research initiatives and consulting projects to address real-world issues. The NIH directors who did the organization's best work were Dr. Satish Chandra (1984–1993), S. M. Seth (1993–2000), K.S. Ramasasthri (2000–2003), K.D. Sharama (2003–2008), ER. R.D. Singh (2008–2017), and Dr. Sharad Kumar Jain (2017–2020). NIH's current director is Dr. Sudhir Kumar.

Scientific Divisions at NIH, Roorkee[edit]

In the years 1985-90, the institute, which is known nationally and globally for its innovative projects and strategic studies in this area, includes six theme-based sections that cover all facets of hydrology. Environmental Hydrology, Groundwater Hydrology, Hydrological Investigations, Surface Water Hydrology, Water Resources System, and Research Management and Outreach. For more information


Every forward-thinking and proactive organization needs infrastructure to run its operations smoothly. The National Institute of Hydrology has some of the best facilities and infrastructure in the nation. The institute depends just as much on qualified and experienced staff as it does on this latter group to fulfill the vision, mission, and goals for which it was founded in 1978. The NIH has an impressive array of facilities, including well-equipped labs, a computer center, a library, a workshop, an auditorium, guest houses, and even a gorgeous nursery where plants are raised for field studies. The lab facilities mainly include a Hydrometeorological observatory, Hydrological Laboratory, Nuclear Hydrology Laboratory, Remote Sensing and GIS Laboratory, Soil Water Laboratory, and Water Quality Laboratory.

International and National Collaborations[edit]

As part of its technology transfer effort, the Institute has scheduled numerous national short-term training sessions on hydrology and water resources. These courses draw students from the commercial sector, NGOs, academic institutions, federal and state governments, and research and development organizations. Many national and international seminars and conferences have also been arranged by the NIH. Several of the Institute's scientists have won honours for their noteworthy contributions to many branches of hydrology and water resources. Campaigns have been started for water management and conservation via print and electronic media. With support from foreign organizations, the Institute has finished several global collaborative initiatives. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom, International Atomic Energy Association (Vienna), and other organizations have collaborated closely with NIH, as shown in figure. It is establishing a Centre for Excellence in Hydrologic Modeling under the National Hydrology Project. The Indian National Commission on Climate Change (INCC) receives secretariat support from the Institute. NIH researchers have made many contributions to the work of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The Indian Association of Hydrologists receives administrative services from the Institute.

Trainings and Programmes[edit]

The Institute actively pursues activities aimed at building capacity by setting up training courses for field engineers, scientists, researchers, students, and NGOs.

Some Notable Sponsored and Consultancy Projects[edit]

The Institute has been working on projects funded by international and national organizations for a long time. It offers solutions to issues faced by the industry via consulting initiatives. Some of the notable sponsored and consulting initiatives are:

A. International Sponsored Projects

1. Review of groundwater resources in the Indo-Gangetic basin: a case study on the resilience of groundwater in Punjab to withdrawal and environmental change 2. Assessment of baseflow and its impact on water quality in part of Sutlej River in India using environmental isotope and age dating techniques 3. Saph Pani – enhancement of natural water systems and treatment methods for safe and sustainable water supply in India

B. National Sponsored Projects

1. Preparation of the Ganga River Basin Environment Management Plan (GRBEMP) 2. Glaciological studies of Phuche Glacier, Ladakh Range, India 3. Assessment of environmental flows for Himalayan rivers 4. Integrating hydrology, climate change, and water resources management with livelihood issues: development of methodology and a decision support system for water-scarce Bundelkhand region in India 5. Low-cost technology for purification of arsenic and microbes-contaminated water using nanotechnology 6. Ionic enrichment of glacial sediment and meltwater of Gangotri glacier

C. Consultancy Projects

1. The possible impact of construction activities in the Kansal area on water flow to Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh 2. Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) study for Jelam Tamak Hydroelectric Project 3. Estimation of Sediment Rate at Proposed Jalleru Reservoir, Andhra Pradesh 4. Isotopic characterization of groundwater of Raigarh district 5. Ganga Aquifer Management for Ecosystems Services (GAMES) 6. Hydrodynamic modeling of river Viswamitri for preparation of flood mitigation plan for Vadodara city 7. Dam Break Studies of Baira Dam 8. Hydrological studies and multi-reservoir simulation for the proposed Mahanadi-Godavari link

These are just a few notable projects undertaken by NIH. The institute is involved in various research and development activities related to water resources, including climate change impact studies, water quality management, groundwater recharge, etc.

Reference Material[edit]

1. Annual Report (2014-15), National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee 2. Annual Report (2015-16), National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee 3. NIH website: 4. 5. Kumar, C. P. (2017). Hydrological Research at National Institute of Hydrology, India. World Journal of Research and Review, 5(3). 6. Pioneering Hydrological research in India (2018). National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee Coffee table book.