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Tribute: T. Hanumantha Rao, champion of water management alternatives

T. Hanumantha Rao, irrigation engineering expert and the brain behind a participative method of water management based on his ‘Four Waters’ concept, passed away on Sunday. The Four Waters concept, explained in this video, brought rich benefits to Rajasthan, where even drought-affected areas improved over the years. Several other states are actively pursuing his recommendations.

M. Somasekhar, The Hindu

Well-known irrigation engineering expert and the brain behind the ‘Four Waters’ concept, T Hanumantha Rao, passed away at a private hospital on Sunday. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

The 86-year-old Hanumantha Rao, retired as the irrigation engineer-in-chief of the United Andhra Pradesh. He was an expert with the World Bank and also served as a consultant to the United Nations on projects in Africa.

His Four Water concept brought rich benefits to Rajasthan, where drought affected areas also improved over the years. Several other states, including the two Telugu speaking ones, are actively pursuing the recommendations of the concept.

The four waters are — rainwater, soil moisture up to water table level, groundwater and surface water. Hanumantha Rao suggested techniques for optimum storing, recharge and utilisation.

Among the several laurels he has won are the Mokshagundem Visveswarayya Award and the Visistha Seva Award of the AP government. Most often, governments and organisations approached him for technical consultation on irrigation projects and interstate water sharing issues, especially related to the Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery.

On the controversial and long-drawn Polavaram project, Rao had advocated the construction of a series of barrages as an alternative to the mega, high investment project, which has now been accorded national project status and is being implemented by the AP government.

He was instrumental in the creation and headed the WALAMTARI (Water and Land Management, Training and Research Institute), a unique facility created in Hyderabad by the erstwhile AP government.

Interview: ‘Big reservoirs are an outdated technology’
Kunal Shankar, Frontline
AT 87, T. Hanumanth Rao is an untiring civil engineer who keeps himself abreast of the latest developments in his area of expertise—irrigation and water management. Hanumanth Rao’s has been the most persuasive and articulate voice against the Telangana government’s redesign of one of the State’s main irrigation projects, the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. The project proposes to lift about 160 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water at the confluence of the Godavari and the Pranahita rivers on the border of Telangana and Maharashtra and supply it down south going over much higher ground through central Telangana, and finally almost reaching the capital, Hyderabad.

Water table mismanagement: an ingenious concept in neglect
M.L. Melly Maitreyi, The Hindu
Hanumantha Rao, Retired Engineer-in-Chief of United AP and UN consultant who developed Four Waters Concept says when the water table increases, spring flow will be there even if there are no rains or run off for some time… In the united AP, the concept was taken up as a pilot project in Chittoor (Kuppam), Khammam (Madhira) and Medak districts. Mr. Rao as water resources consultant for the Centre for Integrated Rural Development in Asia and Pacific Regions monitored the implementation of this technology in Hebei province in China under Nanpi Project. “The project gave wonderful results there too,” he said. Another advantage of the Four Water Concept is that it does not involve big works nor huge funds, and could be implemented in short span of time.


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