In a first endeavour of its kind in the country, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) plans to launch snow harvesting in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal to ensure water supply in snow-fed areas.
"To enhance water supply in snow-fed areas, we plan snow harvesting. A detailed project report is being prepared. Some feasibility studies have been done. In the beginning, we have chosen small sub-basin near our research station at Patsio in Lahaul and Spiti," SASE director Ashwagosha Ganju said.
Patsio is situated at a height of 3,800 metres above sea level.
Snow harvesting involves conservation of snow that falls naturally for longer time so as to future use to supply water to a particular place. " Right now we are facing problems like penetration of water in the ground and snow distribution through wind activity," said SASE officer.
Another aim of the 12th Five Year Plan is the development of Lightweight Unmanned Instrumented Vehicle for snow study which will cost between Rs 10-15 crore. "We have tried a prototype. It can go to places which are hazardous," said the director.
SASE is under Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), but now it is providing weather forecasting to Indo Tibet Border Police (ITBP), which comes under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Under Project Parvat, worth Rs 17 crore, of which DRDO and ministry of earth sciences are also part of, 20 automatic weather stations in central Himalayas will come up.
SASE has also started using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for glacier studies. "We fix the GPR on a helicopter and move it over a glacier. It helps in gathering information on glacier bed and snow pack height.