LUDHIANA – The PAU Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (F&NR) organized an introductory training workshop on “Safer and More Sustainable Disposal of Domestic Sewage Effluent in India using Agro-forestry Systems”in the university premises. The workshop was supported and facilitated by AusAID through the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Richard G. Benyon, Principal Research Scientist in Forestry Hydrology, University of Melbourne, Australia, Dr Nico Marcar, Principal Research Scientist (retd.), CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia, Dr Tivi Thivianathan, Scientist, Water Resource Assessment Section, Climate and Water Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Canberra and participants from various departments of Punjab and NGOs participated in the training programme.
Speaking on this occasion, the chief guest Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, expressed his concern over depleting underground water table, increasing water logging and wastage of water. Stating that water is one of the critical inputs for the sustenance of mankind, he said that although it is abundant in nature, yet only one per cent of the water is available as fresh water for human consumption and other activities. Dr Gosal further said that the increasing demand for wood cannot be met only from natural forests. Greenbelts around cities can be created and wastewater can be used to irrigate them, added he.
The team leader Dr Benyon, giving an outline of the programme, said that the training would be imparted to the scientists at PAU and Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Indian Partner – CSSRI) on the use of models (WATLOAD, WATSKED, WATCOST, 3-PG, APSIM) to enable them to design sustainable, agro-forestry based sewage effluent reuse projects. He told that scientists would also be trained in Australia on the use of models for water balance studies in agro-forestry.
Earlier, Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, welcoming the Australian scientists, dignitaries and the participants, said that the training project aims at assisting PAU and CSSRI in developing agro-forestry systems for sustainable reuse of sewage as alternative to disposal of poorly-treated effluent into waterways and onto edible crops. Dr Avtar Singh, Head, F&NR, proposed the vote of thanks.