Travelling at a speed of 300 km per hour, it takes about 25 minutes for the aircraft to reach over lake Modak Sagar from Nashik. Then from the bottom of the cloud, the compound mixture is sprayed in the nuclei of the cloud to conduct the cloud seeding experiment at a height of 4,000 ft.
Till date, the civic body till date has conducted 21 such scientific rain augmentation experiments with the help of the Piper Cheyenne aircraft that has been chartered from US, over the four lakes, which supply water to the city.
In the last 17 days, water levels at Tansa have risen to 144.19 million cubic metre, while water levels at Modak Sagar and Upper Vaitarna have risen to 186.04 million cubic metre and 207.28 million cubic metre respectively. Water levels in Bhatsa have risen to 603.67 million cubic metre.
“We monitor the cloud situation and only if the situation is favourable the aircraft takes off from Nashik,” said Kasbekar pointing at the digital image of the clouds on his monitor.
According to the data available with the civic officials, lake levels and the total rainfall has got a boost since the scientific experiment commenced — from August 23.
“Since the rain gauges have not been installed the rainfall after the experiments have been conducted cannot be recorded, but these experiments have definitely increased the total stocks in the lakes,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Pramod Charankar.
The seven-seater flight is prepared at Ojhar in Nashik with seeding material filled in the flares. When it is ready for take off, the pilot gives a signal to retired wing commander, Durga Prasad Kasbekar, who has been roped in by Agni Aviation who after studying the cloud situation gives a green signal.
After his signal the aircraft headed towards Modak Sagar at 2.30 pm near Khardi in Shahapur district, flying at a low altitude of 1,000 ft (as it was a demonstrative experiment), firing flares. A demonstration of the same was conducted on Thursday over Modak Sagar.
The ground generator method, which was being conducted by Shantilal Meckoni of the Meckoni enterprises, has conducted 42 experiments of which 22 yielded in rainfall. The amount of rainfall in most of these cases was negligible. Both these types of cloud seeding experiments will be continued till October.