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State to conduct drone surveys to promote tourism and monitor encroachment around dams

The Maharashtra water resource department has decided to use drone surveys for tourism planning, encroachment monitoring, asset mapping, and post disaster mapping and planning of mitigation measures among other things
By Siddharth Gadkari, Pune
PUBLISHED ON MAY 08, 2021 10:12 PM IST

The Maharashtra water resource department has decided to use drone surveys for tourism planning, encroachment monitoring, asset mapping, and post disaster mapping and planning of mitigation measures among other things.

The government has prepared a Model Request for Proposal (MRP) and set a deadline to complete the survey within 22 months after assigning work to agency.

The state government has issued an order to carry out the drone surveys in respective divisions. There are more than 3,000 small, medium and large dams spread across the state.

According to the water resources department, drone surveys can be helpful for mapping of such locations, generate 3D views and available facilities which can further be put online for promotion of tourism.

Currently, most of the activities are performed manually in the conventional manner which is a time-consuming activity. The huge amount of time and human effort are invested in the manual environment which results in a delay at different stages of the project which directly impacts the entire project life cycle.

Tourism planning

Dams and their surrounding environment naturally provide for a scenic tourism venue. However, considering the location constraints and the land available with the Water Resource Department (WRD), tourism activities would be feasible at select locations only.

Drone surveys can be helpful for mapping of such locations, generate 3D views and available facilities which can further be put online for promotion of tourism. This can be a revenue generating activity for the state and monitoring of the activities, adds to safety measures, and prevents encroachment.

Increase revenue

Rajendra Mohite, chief superintendent engineer of WRD said, “We have good backwater areas which can be utilized for tourism purposes. We can develop tourist spots on the Private public partnership (PPP) model. It will help to get additional revenue to the department.”

Mohite added, “Day by Day, the water resources department is facing a manpower crunch. The survey will help to give accurate areas of the dam’s backwater, irrigated and non-irrigated area. In Pune district, Maharashtra Krishna Valley development corporation (MKVDC) carried out a successful drone survey. Every irrigation corporation gets money from water taxes from irrigated and non-irrigated areas. We have to use funds for dam, canal maintenance from these revenue resources. Drone surveys will help to boost revenue as well as keep watch on illegal practices such as water theft, encroachment on rivers.”

Integrate data with GIS

TN Munde, chief superintendent engineer of Pune water resources division said, “The drone survey will mainly focus on project progress monitoring. It includes an evidence-based project progress monitoring system. The data can then be integrated with GIS for location specific, site specific and works specific services. The GIS tag and geometry enabled video and report data regarding project information and relevant documents.”

“Maharashtra Water Resources Department’s (WRD) projects are in areas which can promote tourism, proper planning will help in facilitating tourism as well as protecting the catchment areas and its assets,” he added.

The various potential works identified for which WRD intends to use aerial / drone based geospatial technology mapping are such as project progress monitoring of ongoing WRD projects, inspection of safety and health of dams and other irrigation structures, 3D mapping of WRD assets, planning for tourism related activities, water quality monitoring, catchment area management, project irrigation potential analysis, post-disaster mapping and planning of mitigation measures and assessment of crops for irrigation billing.

Water quality and encroachments

The survey will include finding out illegal sources of irrigation and encroachment. The agency will mark the illegal source of irrigation from the canal, mark the illegal source of irrigation from reservoir, mark the illegal source of irrigation from the river, mark the gaps in canal network, identify and mark the leakages in the canal network and mark the encroachment into the river, reservoirs WRD land and colonies. Drone surveys will be used for assessing water quality. It could monitor water bodies. Remote sensing imageries can be used to measure the qualitative parameters of water bodies such as turbidity, water temperature (WT), pollutants, floating materials, weeds. Drones can map the water surface and aquatic weeds on the dam water surface, map the water turbidity, assess dam environment health, monitor the expansion of the vegetation in the dam over the period.

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