The first Brain storming session of BAHC (Biospheric Aspects of Hydrological Cycle) programme in India was organized in School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on 2nd December, 1995. Among a listed participants of fifty one, thirty five actually came for the meeting. Among those who came were representatives from Physical Research Laboratory (Ahemadabad), Indian Institute of Technology (New Delhi), Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur), Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Water Technology Centre, IARI (New Delhi) National Institute of Hydrology (Roorkee), National Physical Laboratory(New Delhi), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (Pusa, New Delhi), Himachal Pradesh University (Simla), Kumaon University (Almora), Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Agra), University of Rajasthan (Jaipur) and National Remote Sensing Agency (Hyderabad). In addition to the scientists and researchers from these institutions the meeting was also attended by the members of the Indian National Committee of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, Prof. Deekshatulu, Chairman, Dr. Pant (Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune) member and Dr. Parashar (National Physical Laboratory) member-secretary. Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (Dr. Govinda Rao), National Remote Sensing Agency (Dr. Badrinath) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (Dr. Goswami) were also represented in the meeting. Dr. Sikka, formerly of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology also participated. In addition to all the above participants, the meeting also had the benefit of Prof. Martin Haigh, Faculty of Environment, Oxford Brookes University of UK who chaired a session and actively participated in the proceedings.

Acknowledgement : Funds from Indian National Committee on International Geosphere - Biosphere Programme via CSIR were received to conduct this meeting. In addition, funds from ongoing projects, ENVIS funded by Ministry of Environment and Forests and Fluoride and related elements in the ground waters of Ajmer District funded by Rajiv Gandhi Technology Mission, Ministry of Human Resource Development were also used to make this workshop a success. Dinner was hosted by Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

In response to an earlier circular, 14 institutions across the country submitted draft proposals in order to seek funding for various aspects of research dealing with the Biological Aspect of Hydrological Cycle. From each of the 14 institutions, one or more scientists or researchers submitted proposals. While in the meeting on December 2, some of them could not attend, their proposals were considered in absentia.

For the sake of operational convenience, the local organizer Prof. V. Subramanian, who is also the National Co-ordinator for the BAHC programme in India, divided all the proposals into two broad categories. One group of the proposals actually focussed on the Physical processes of the Hydrological Cycle. Some of these proposals were experimental in nature while some others involved modelling. Proposals dealing with these aspects were grouped together for the discussion to have some commonality. On a similar basis, those proposals dealing with the impact of land use on the hydrological cycle, including those dealing with biological, geological and geographical aspects, were all grouped together because most of them dealt with the impact of land use planning on natural background values of various parameters related to diverse components of the hydrological cycle.

In the first category dealing with the physical processes, 12 proposals were received, whereas in the other category dealing with the land use, biological, biochemical, geochemical processes, 14 proposals were received. Each of these two groups were led separately by two different individuals. For the group deliberating on Physical processes, Dr. Pant of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune who is also a member of Indian National Committee of IGBP was the chairman of the session, and Dr. V.K. Jain of JNU was the rapporteur. Similarly for the other session on the Land use as well as biological processes Prof. Martin Haigh was the chairman and Dr. Attree of JNU was the rapporteur.

At the beginning of the meeting on December 2nd, the chairman of the Indian National Committee for IGBP, Dr. Deekshatulu gave a brief introduction on the various activities of the IGBP in India and also approaches being made on a number of other co-programs such as LOICZ (Land Ocean Interaction in Coastal Zone) in India. He also gave a general guideline on how to go about processing draft proposals and how to identify the potential funding agencies. Thereafter the local organizer gave a brief account of the organizational aspects of the session such as the grouping of the proposals, parallel discussion on the two proposal groups and the subsequent meeting together of all the participants so that a meaningful discussion could take place, finally leading to the summation of the results of the discussions at the end of the day. The detailed programme for the day is given in the appendix. In each of the two groups, the prospective investigators for each proposal were requested to give a very brief presentation consisting of the objectives, relevance to the BAHC programme of the individual proposals, the methodology they planned to use and the anticipated budget. The summary of the deliberations in each group is presented below:

Two proposals in group B viz., the one submitted by Dr. Seth, National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee as well as the one submitted by Prof. A. Balasubramanian, Mysore University were considered in absentia, since they could not attend. In the other group, two proposals, one by Dr. Sivaswamy of JNU dealing with the Land degradation problems in the catchment area of the Himalayan region and the one on sustainability issues submitted by Dr. Kalra and Dr. Deb from IARI, Pusa were considered in absentia since they could not make it for personal reasons. And one more proposal dealing with biogeochemical studies on some of the lakes of Himalayan region submitted by Prof. B.K. Das of Punjab University was also considered in absentia in this group.

In the working group on physical processes, the proposals presented were grouped broadly into three different categories. One group of proposals namely proposal P5 and P11 are dealing with sedimentation problems and use of remote sensing techniques, reservoir filtration and the impact on the hydrological cycle and the second group dealing with again remote sensing in terms of hydro-geological studies. Third in the physical processes group are three proposals using remote sensing techniques or application of the technique in generation of the primary data that have an implication towards modelling. However, after detailed discussion across the floor on the three proposals, it was decided that the respective project investigators should be requested to expand the proposals in full detail and also suggest to the committee the potential funding authorities. Department of space may not be the only agency available even though the proposal by and large deal either with Remote Sensing or Geographic Information System. Hence they were requested to do the needful and approach Indian National Committee for further processing.

On the other hand, about six proposals were identified to be potentially useful to BAHC activities in India. Three of them namely P2, P5 and P11, all on Sabarmathi river basin were essentially dealing with SVAT models for the river basin. The DST funding representative who was present suggested that they could approach DST for funding since all these proposals fit with the ongoing programme. Three other proposals on modelling namely P4, P9 and P12 all dealing with SVAT models, also fit with some of the ongoing programs of the DST. And hence the total of 6 Proposals namely P2, P5 and P11 on one hand and P4, P9 and P12 on the other, together can be considered by DST for funding after the normal procedures. And they should contact DST for further information.

The proposal P1 by Bhattacharya, Sharma and Gupta of PRL, dealing with moisture transport modelling using stable isotope measurements is very much relevant to BAHC and it was desired that it should be pursued. However the authors informed the meeting that they have already submitted a proposal to BRNS (the Dept. of Atomic Energy) for funding. Accordingly it was desired that the INC will strongly recommend to BRNS to fund these proposals since it fits with the interest of the BRNS as well.

The proposal submitted by Dr. Choubey from NIH, Roorkee dealt with the use of Remote sensing techniques for estimation of chlorophyll and TOC in Narmada river valley at various steps using HADC data, radiation reflectance, etc. After extensive discussion, he was requested to modify the proposal in such a way that it fits with the general pattern of BAHC activity instead of simply using one of the remote sensing parameters. After the author identified the funding agency, the Indian National Committee can do the needful on the subject. Another proposal in this category was that of Prof. Lal and Prof. Subash Chander of IIT, Delhi. It proposed to study the change in the albido in the North Indian region by relating climatology to land surface properties. The ultimate objective is for obtaining better resolution and results of small resolution in GCM for South East Asian region were presented. For simulation of one year change, 80 hours of CPU time is needed. The proposers have a work station and require essentially funding on a 3 year basis for man power requirements. The proposal was strongly recommended being part of the BAHC programme.

Next proposal was that of Prof. Padmanabhamurthy of JNU. The proposal was already an existing project being funded by DST. He requires some extension to acquire some equipments. Accordingly the BAHC will recommend to the DST to do the needful in the matter. The next proposal by Dr. Mishra, Himachal Pradesh University deals with setting up a hydrological unit in HP to study variability in water, particularly rainfall and vegetation. Approximate budget was 4 lakhs and it was recommended either to approach the Department of Space after suitable modification and furnishing further details of the proposal or Department of Science and Technology. The next proposal was from Dr. Mukherjee of JNU. He wanted to use remote sensing techniques for studying a polluted as well as a non-polluted area in a scale which has not yet been attempted so far using remote sensing data from NRSA. He was requested to redefine his proposal in regard to the relevance to the BAHC programme and then approach the Indian National Committee for appropriate action. The next proposal was by Dr. Rao by Water Technology Centre and they intend to study the impact of climatic change over India using the Geographical Information System (GIS) package. The first assembled data on soil water vegetation for specific region. The proposal was strongly recommended. The next proposal was from Dr. Jain and Dr. Subramanian of JNU. They intended to experimentally study soil moisture using X-band and C-band microwave interferometers. The proposal was unique and was strongly recommended. DST also agreed to consider it as a part of their ongoing programme, subject to their rules and regulations. Proposal P2 of Dr. Seth of NIH, Roorkee was to understand moisture energy fluxes using Biosphere Atmosphere Transfer scheme. Some work has been done on the Narmada river basin in this connection. The modelling uses GCM on the vertical transfer of water. They would like to study parameterisation scheme so as to incorporate horizontal variations of moisture and precipitation. Basically, the need is for data generation of very small scale and a budget of about 10 lakhs is estimated for this purpose. It was considered in absentia and it was decided to recommend it to the appropriate funding agency.

The meeting of the second group dealt with land use and biological aspects relevant to the BAHC programme. Thirteen projects were considered and each of the prospective investigators were given five minutes to present the important aspects of the projects. After extensive discussion on individual proposals a general consensus emerged to group the projects into two broad themes. The themes encompass the Focus 3: viz. Diversity of Biosphere-Hydrosphere Interactions: Temporal and Spatial Variability , as listed in Appendix 1 of BAHC activity guide. This grouping mainly contained the objectives one and two under focus 3. Focus three objective 1 title of the proposal that will come under this, interaction between terrestrial ecosystem and hydrological cycle and different climatic zones namely Alpine, temperate and arid regions. A number of projects were focussing on this category. Study of biospheric aspects of Hydrological cycle under varied ecological conditions in the central Himalayas in India, another project dealing with biotic and abiotic processes controlling water chemistry in snow and ice melt in Ganges headwaters - Bhagirathi Basin, Garwal Himalayas, a third proposal on soil moisture studies in Luni river basin in arid regions of Rajasthan, a fourth project on the impact of land use dynamics, slope instability and construction induced hazards on geohydrological systems into Himalayan water sources using GIS and a fifth project on Radiation flux estimation mechanism and associated repercussion on hydrological cycle in the three climatic zones were considered.

The common features of the above list of projects broadly cover Himalaya as a region of study. The emphasis is to generate data for various parameters related to snow melt, radiation exchange and the effect of land use pattern linked to hydrological cycle. The second theme also covered focus 3 and objective 2 and is listed as Transfer of biotic and abiotic materials from soil and vegetation to water bodies . Projects under this focus area are proposal numbers B1 (Nutrient dynamics in fresh water and brackish water lakes of India), B2 (Bioconcentration of flyash derived heavy metals in river systems), B3 (Soil animal and human relationship of trace elements in the hydrological cycle, B7 (Novel biological signature of land use degradation hydrological cycle), B12 (Bio-geochemical studies of some lakes of Himalayas) and B13 (Role of wetland in hydrological cycle).

Grouping the projects in line with the broad objectives of BAHC is likely to produce additional information.

    1. land surface processes observation and modelling.

    2. preparation of generalized data bases of SVAT models

    3. interaction between ecological system and hydrological cycle in different climatic zones viz. alpine, temperate, arid.

    4. transfer of Biotic and abiotic material from soil and vegetation to water bodies.

Focus 3.1. There are five projects grouped under this focus viz., B4, B5, B6, B8 and P10.

Focus 3.2. Covering transfer of Biotic and abiotic material from soil and vegetation to water bodies,(as also land surface processes, observations and modelling) proposals B1, B2, B3, B7, B12 and B13 come under this

After both the groups separately met and categorized and prioritized their proposals, in the joint meeting that was held in the later part of the day, extensive discussions took place on the merits of the proposals namely with reference to their relevance to the BAHC program and the objective each of these projects hope to achieve. Do any of the objectives address any aspect of the existing BAHC program? Are there any institution/scientist in India who have not been involved so far who might be required to fill in some of the gaps that has been listed. After extensive discussion was concluded it was decided that among the proposals in both land use and biological aspects about 22 proposals address climate as the major variable. To understand the hydrological cycle a variety of parameters have been listed by individual proposals some dealing with biological aspects, others dealing with the biochemical aspects and yet others with biogeochemical aspects. But in all such proposals, the theme is to understand climatic variability and effect of this variability on individual parameters. The parameters could be change of soil moisture either from arid zone to alpine zone or change of biological parameters in terms of nutrient availability to the ecosystem. Or some of the biochemical parameters as for that matter using novel biochemical technique to understand the significance of land use degradation in the hydrological cycle or considering the climatic zones identifying the suitable wetland and understand the nutrient transfer in the wetland system. Thus in this group all the proposals are extremely relevant to the focal area of the BAHC programme and all them seemed to address certain components of the climate as a central theme. Hence if an integrated proposal that could inculcate major aspects of these proposals individually presented could be evolved then further progress can be made in working a theme area with subdivisions for individual project investigators. The co-ordinator was requested to do the needful and present such a combined proposal if possible to the Indian National Committee, after due consultation with individual authors. On a similar line of thinking it was decided while discussing the proposals under the physical processes that already certain proposals fit into the ongoing programme as mentioned in the earlier sections. There are six proposals which have been fitting with the existing programme of DST and some other themes and three proposals viz. P2, P5 and P11 could be requested to steer towards the Sabarmathi basin since the DST has major coordinated projects and these proposals can be considered for possible funding by the DST. Accordingly the authors are advised to do the needful and contact the DST. Similarly P4, P9 and P12 deals with modelling and they also fit DST s existing funding scheme for existing and ongoing proposals. The concerned author should contact DST for funding. All the proposals viz., P2, P4, P5, P9, P11, and P12 are very much relevant to the BAHC programme and since the funding source has been identified, the National Committee can do the needful and co-ordinate with the funding agency so the BAHC activity can get going with the suitable proposals as mentioned above. As regards the other proposals listed viz. P3, P7 and P8, the concerned project investigator should specify the applicability of the remote sensing techniques to the central theme of the BAHC and also suggest in what way the proposal will differ from some ongoing NRSA projects. After doing the needful they should also identify potential funding sources for the component of the programme so that the Indian National Committee can do the needful.

In conclusion, the meeting can be thought to have achieved the following:

    1. Proposals were received from 14 institutions totalling about 26 proposals; and this in itself is a big achievement.

    2. Some of the existing proposals, programs and existing funding agencies such CSIR, DST and state agencies can be made use of to fix funding for those proposals which had relevance to the BAHC programme as have been identified in the group discussion.

    3. Some of the proposals, i.e. of PRL, that has already been submitted to the Indian National Committee for IGBP can do the needful and get the funds released so that the proposals gets funded at the same time the interests of BAHC programme in India can be taken care of.

    4. In addition to the proposals that were received and discussed in the meeting it was decided that the BAHC co-ordinator together with the national committee should identify some of the missing gaps in the scheme of study that has evolved so far and identify the potential investigator for suitable follow up action.

And finally, two central themes emerged from both sides of the proposals that is one side dealing with physical process dealing either with modelling or data generation. On the other hand, among the proposals based on land use/biological processes, the central theme seem to be climate as variable. Hence BAHC Co-ordinator should work out an integrated proposal incorporating the salient features of the individual proposals and work out an integrated approach to BAHC activity in India.

Individual proposals were assessed by the individual authors or by the groups in which the discussion took place. While assessing the proposal a general format which was given in the appendix was followed. This included relevance of the proposal to themes of BAHC approved for the area at the international level, information regarding any such activity in any laboratory in India and if so whether the proposal may be grouped with some ongoing proposals or ongoing programs or along with the other proposals discussed in the meeting itself, whether the budget was reasonable and the objects and methodology viable in the Indian context as also recommending some suitable funding agency that may be interested in the proposal. Assessments were made by the respective groups and these assessments were also discussed in the collective meeting in the later part of the day.


S.K. Bhattacharya, S.K. Gupta and P. Sharma : Understanding Moisture Transport and Mixing Processes in the Indian Ocean.

Dr. S.M. Seth : Application of Macro-scale Atmospheric and Land Surface Process Hydrologic Modelling System.

Dr. V.K. Choubey : Development of Operational Predictive Model for Monitoring Sediment Load in the Reservoir Using Remore Sensing Techniques.

Dr. M. Lal and Prof. Subash Chander : Development & Validation of Land Surface Hydrology Scheme in Regional Model and Sensitivity Studies to Investigate the Nature of Biosphere- hydrosphere Interactions.

Prof. B. Padmanabamurthy : Draft Proposal for Development, Testing and Validation of 1- dimensional Soil-vegetation-atmosphere Transfer(svat) Models.

Prof. A. Balasubramanian : Numerical Modeling of Contaminant Migration in the Unsaturated and Saturated Porous Media

Dr. H.N. Misra : Watershed Management and Sustainable Development : a Case Study of Sukar Khad, Himachal Pradesh.

Dr. S. Mukherjee : Uggestions on BAHC Project (a Remote Sensing Approach).

Dr. A.K. Singh & Dr. N.H. Rao : Focus area of BAHC

Dr. Arun K. Attri and V.K. Jain : Radiation Flux Exchange Mechanism and Associated Repercussion on Hydrological Cycle.

Dr. V.K. Jain and Prof. V. Subramanian : Measurement of Dielectric Properties and Soil Moisture and their Implications to Hydrological Cycle.

Dr. S.T. Chari : Climate Change and Irrigation Sustainability.


Dr. R. Ramesh : Nutrient Dynamics in Freshwater (closed system) & Brackish Water (open system) Lakes of India.

Prof. C. Venkobachar and Prof. B.C. Raymahashay : Bio-concentration of Fly Ash Derived Heavy Metals in River Systems.

Dr. R. Subramanian : Soil-animal-human Relationship of Truce Elements in Hydro-geological Cycles.

J.S. Rawat : Study of Biospheric Aspect of Hydrological Cycle Under Varied Ecological Conditions in the Central Himalaya, India.

Dr. S.I. Hasnain : Biotic and Abiotic Processes Controlling Water Chemistry During Snow and Ice Melt in Ganga Headwaters, Bhagirathi Basin, Garhwal Himalaya.

Dr. A.K. Sinha : Proposal on Soil-moisture Study in Lathi Basin/luni River Basin/budha Pushkar Catchment/upper Kantli River Basin/ban-ganga River Basin/gambhir River Basin.

Dr. S. Bhattacharya and Prof. V. Subramanian : Novel Biological Signature of land use Degradation on the Hydrological Cycle.

Dr. R.B. Singh : Impact of land use Dynamics, Slope Instability and Construction Induced Hazards on Geohydrological System in two Himalayan Watersheds Using Geographic Information System.

Prof. S. Sivaswami : Land Degradation and Soil Erosion in the Catchment Areas of Major and Medium River Valley Projects in India.

Dr. Naveen Kalra and Dr. D.L. Deb : Sustainability Issues Associated with Rice-wheat Cropping System in Indo-gangetic Alluvial Plains, Proposed Activity of Iari, New Delhi.

Dr. R.B. Singh : Sustainable Development of Mountain Environments in India and Canada.

Prof. Brijraj K. Das : Biogeochemical Studies of Some Lakes of Himalaya, India.

Dr. Brij Gopal : Role of Wetland in the Hydrological Cycle.

D. Sarveswara Rao, Saheb Dass and Satya Prakash : Diversity of Biosphere-Hydrosphere Interactions : Pollination Ecology and Transpiration.

To Top