The course is meant for the professionals directly engaged in the works of maintaining and managing the irrigation and multipurpose projects having headworks in form of storage structures of various sizes and associated water distribution networks for providing water to the beneficiaries. The course aims at improving the skills of the professional entrusted with the responsibility in directly managing the facilities and ensuring their safety as well as reporting the status to a higher level of managements. The works of such nature requires exposure to the basics of the sciences and technologies that go into designing and operationalizing such facilities, deteriorations that can be expected over long years of usage, implications thereof towards continued safety of operators and hazard levels posed to the downstream communities, possible field and laboratory investigations techniques for identification of problems and reporting the observations to the expert personnel in a scientific and lucid manner so that the status at the field level is fully appreciated while planning the remedial measures by them.
The areas of safety assurance in general are very wide and comprise of high degree of expertise and skills extending to the cutting-edge level of technologies and involve a fair amount of in-depth experience in each discipline. However, such level of expertise and skill sets cannot be replicated easily with the growing level of asset base and increasing age of the existing assets. A middle layer is required who is generally aware of the issues that can get generated in such a scenario and how to deal with them as a first line of decision and defense. At the higher levels, such personnel will be the key to the setup to monitor and collate the status of the asset portfolio being managed by an organization or department.
Water management projects especially the irrigation projects are long lasting entities with practically indefinite life. Even if the beneficiary land area changes its character in terms of land use, the utility of the head conservation works and the distribution networks remain or improve as they are required to deliver the water for larger economic good in keeping with development in economy of the area. On the other hand, the tenure of a professional employed for managing the project may be limited in keeping with the shortage of personnel and also the aspirations of the individual towards career progression. Many of the developing countries are facing this problem due to a smaller pool of manpower resources not in keeping with the growth in population of the projects. At any point of time, a change of hands is inevitable with concomitant dangers of gaps in knowledge transfer.
Presence of exposure to a course of this nature provides necessary awareness to the incoming professional about the scope and nature of the assignment at hand and also makes the charged professionals aware of standard protocols and procedures involved.
The professionals at ICID and Aqua Foundation have witnessed such situations first hand and realize that the skill sets are in need of a wider spread in view of growing importance of an assured delivery of water to the beneficiaries and also a continued assurance of performance worthiness of the components involved.
Dam safety bill has already passed in the Lok Sabha and is now pending with Rajya Sabha. It is likely that the same may come into effect shortly. Already, with DRIP II in place, there is a need of trained dam safety professionals at the field level who are able to coordinate with various expert committees and panels who take up the formulation of remedial measures and also supervise implementation of the same. This course will enable the project authorities to create such a group for better progress in their dam safety related works. Similarly, in India, there is increasing emphasis on demand side management for water resources. In such cases, the status of network capacities for delivering the required volumes will also require assurance. Maintenance of networks will therefore receive increasing importance. In this context, the course will be able to fulfil this gap.