Dr. Madhavrao Chitale


    Dr. Madhavrao Chitale, born in 1934, graduated with distinction in Civil Engineering in 1955 and joined the Maharashtra State Engineering Service (Class I) in 1956, where he held engineering posts at various levels associated with planning, investigation and construction of river valley projects and then worked as Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra (1981-1983), before moving over to the Government of India in 1984, as Commissioner, River Basins. He was appointed as Chairman, Central Water Commission (apex body of India's water sector) and Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India in 1985 and thereafter as Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India from 1989. He retired from Government service in August 1992.
       Dr. Chitale was Chairman of Indian National Committee on Large Dams (1986-1987), Indian National Committee of ICID (1986-1987), and Indian National Committee on Hydrology (1985-1988), President, Indian Water Resources Society (1989-1990), and a Vice President, International Water Resources Association (1989-1991). He is member of the United Nations Environmental Program's Water Advisory Committee (since 1989) and Vice President of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (1992-1993). He was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the Jawahar Lal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad in 1989. Member of the United Nations Environment Program's Water Advisory Committee (1989-92). Member of the Scientific and Programme Committee of the International Lake Environment Foundation (ILEC) since May 1995. Member of the Interim Foundation Committee for World Water Council since April 1995 and then Member of the Interim Board of Governors of WWC since March 1996 and of the Executive Committee of WWC since June 1996. Chairman, Maharashtra State (2nd) Irrigation Commission since January 1996.
     Dr. Chitale was awarded Stockholm Water Prize in 1993 for his contribution to the conservation of the worlds water resources and public education programmes. As a result of Dr. Chitale's efforts, the recent years have been the most dynamic for the water sector in India. His work resulted in an introduction of sound water resources policies, including water pollution control and water quality management, throughout the nation. Previously little attention was given to the subject and most of the work was fragmented.
     The nomination of Dr. Chitale reflected the enormous impact of political education and solid administrative and organisational skills in the process of structuring water conservation in developing countries. The choice of Dr. Chitale proved that high standards of water management are not only applicable in the western industrialised world.
Dr. Chitale recognised the need for public awareness of, and support for, the value of water resources. He introduced a "Water Resources Day," which takes place once a year throughout the vast subcontinent to increase public awareness of the problems associated with the management and supply of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use.
     This effort placed the subject of water on the priority agenda not only of India but also of the bordering countries in South Asia. He received many honours and awards in recent years for his achievements for the millions of people in the region who benefit from his work. Dr. Chitale has had a brilliant career in the water-oriented industry since graduating with first class honours with distinction in 1955.
       In 1956 he joined the Maharashtra State Engineering Service working in a variety of water projects, including some of the most challenging and complex tasks in design and construction of dams, irrigation schemes, water supply and power projects. Among his achievements was the rapid restoration of Pune City water supply after the collapse of the Panshet and Khadakwasla dams and the construction of under-creek tunnels for the water supply to Bombay.
His talents being greatly recognised, the Indian government appointed him Commission for River Basins and in 1985 Chairman of the Central Water Commission. In 1989 he was appointed Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources for the Government of India, the highest rank in India which an engineer can occupy. His appointment to this position was recognition of his abilities and the contributions he had made.
       During recent years he initiated the establishment of a National Water Board for the implementation of a National Water Policy which he was instrumental in forming in 1987. The proposal materialised in September 19990 and the National Water Board is responsible for initiating effective measures for the systematic development of the water resources in India.
       He reorganised the Central Water Commission in 1991 and established an Environmental Management Organisation also covering environmental impact assessment studies and environmental monitoring. He was instrumental in establishing the Water Quality Monitoring and Management of the Ganges.
       On an international basis, Dr. Chitale has made many presentations throughout the world and his publications on water resources have been studied eagerly by those interested in the subject. He has been a member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Water Advisory Committee. In the early 90s Dr. Chitale retired from service within the Government of India and accepted the post of Secretary General for the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage from January 1, 1993. This appointment was another recognition of his international standing the field of water resources.
1. Academic qualifications and achievements –
• Ranked first in B.E.(Civil) examination from College of Engineering Pune, in 1955.
• Ranked first in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission Competitive Examination in Engineering in 1956.

2. Notable contributions and achievements in the Maharashtra State –
• Joined Irrigation Department of Gov. of Maharashtra as Assistant Engineer(I) in 1956
• Completed emergency water supply scheme for Pune city in 1961 after disaster of Panshet and Khadakwasla dams.
• Novel approach of providing ‘Plastic-Concrete diaphragm’ for alluvial foundation of Major Mula Earth dam was initiated and completed.
• Planned Bhatsa Multipurpose project for Mumbai Metropolitan Region (1966-69).
• Completed under-creek Tunnels for water supply to Mumbai city.
• His work in restoration of the Koyna concrete dam (1968 to 69) after the disastrous earthquake of 1967 was highly acclaimed by the Govt. of Maharashtra.
• Finalised proposal of strengthening of Bhatsa masonry dam after severe Earthquake near it in 1983.
• Worked as Secretary to Government of Maharashtra in Irrigation Department (1981 to 83) for the development of command areas of Irrigation Projects and for handling of the interstate water related matters. He was then deputed to Govt. of India.

3. Notable contributions and achievements in India –
• Worked as Chairman, Central Water Commission and Ex. Officio Secretary to Government of India (1985 to 89). Was involved in the evolution of National Water Policy for India released in 1987 by the National Water Resources Council headed by the Prime Minister of India. The Dam Safety Committee under his Chairmanship developed and released the guidelines for Dam Safety Procedures in 1988. He introduced practice of celebrating Water Resources Day in the country from April 1986. As a sequel to it, United Nations started celebrating ‘World Water Day’ at the World level since 1993. He established the National Water Board and introduced the practice of holding an annual National Water Convention to discuss the emerging issues in the water sector on a public platform.
• As Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India (1989 to 1992) he also chaired the Executive Committee of the Narmada Control Authority, and the National Water Development Agency which dealt with the Inter Basin Water Transfer Projects. He was closely involved with the management of the national and interstate projects like Farrakka, Tungabhadra, Bansagar & Betwa and in the dialogues with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan on shared water resources, and with working of the Brahamaputra Board.

4. Notable contributions and achievements at the World level –
• As the first full time Secretary General, of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) from 1993 to 1997, he guided and assisted the 64 active National Committees on irrigation and drainage in the member countries and the 22 work bodies of the Commission in their assigned tasks for the promotion of Irrigation and Drainage worldwide on scientific lines.
• He has been active at the International level for over 15 years in important positions, such as a member of the United Nations Environment programmes’ Water Advisory Committee (1989 to 92), as Vice president of the International Water Resources Association (1989 to 91), as member of the Foundation Committee for World Water Council (WWC) (1995 to 96) and thereafter as a member of the Board of Governors of WWC, Member of the Executive Committee of WWC and also as Chairman, Regional Centres Committee of WWC (1997), as member of the Scientific and Programme Committee of the International Lake Environment Foundation (ILEC) (1995 to 2005). As Chairman of South Asia Technical Advisory Committee (SASTAC) he took lead in establishing River Water Partnerships of the Stakeholder Organizations in India and other South Asian Countries. He has been elected as a Lifetime Honorary Fellow of the International Water Institute at Oslo, Norway in 1999.

5. Area/Field/Sector/Domain of Work Done –
• Integrated Water Resource Development and Management, Involvement of Beneficiaries, Increasing Awareness about Water-related Problems.

6. Number of Years Working in the Field - 66 Years.

7. Impact/ Outcome/ Contribution of the Work Done –
• His efforts to ensure and achieve Integrated Water Resource Development and Management, initially at the Country level, and later at the World level, would help in providing Food and Water Security for the future generations and thus achieving ‘Sustainable Development’.

8. Details of Any Awards or Honours Received by the Nominee –
• Award Name - Stockholm Water Prize
• Year of Award - 1993
• Field - Water Management
• Type of Award - International
• Awarding Authority - Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
• It is described as the ‘Water’s Nobel Prize’, awarded at the hands of King of Sweden in 1993.
• He was selected for one year course on ‘International and Public Relations’ in Princeton University USA, where he acquired ‘A’ grade in all subjects and was nominated as ‘Pervin Fellow’.
• The Indian Society for Hydraulics conferred on him the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2008 at their Hydro 2008 conference.
• Was awarded Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the Jawaharlal University Hyderabad in 1989, by the Agriculture and Science University Kanpur in 1995, and by the Tilak University Pune in 2006.

9. Any Other Relevant Information –
• Under his Chairmanship, the high level 12 members interdisciplinary Maharashtra Water and Irrigation Commission presented in the year 1999, an extensive 2000-page Report in 5 volumes outlining a perspective plan of actions for 25 sub-basins in the major River Basins of the Maharashtra State.
• He worked as Chairman of the Committee set up in 2016 to finalise ‘Ganga Action Plan’.
• He started organising ‘Sinchan Parishad’ from 1992, to establish dialogue between ‘Water Providers’ and ‘Water Users’. Since then, they are being held regularly every year in different Districts of the Maharashtra State.
Click Here for "The Story of the Stockholm Water Prize Laureates"
Click Here for Marathi Article by Shri. Vidyanand Ranade on Dr. Madhavrao Chitale
Water Resources  Civil Engineering Notes  Aamhi Sangamnerkar  Books
© 2006~13 Pravin Kolhe
Page Last Updated on 10-09-2022 22:09:15