‘Varuna’ to give real time info to farmers

iOS version of finetuned app will be out soon, says Minister

The Andhra Pradesh Government has finetuned the weather forecast for farmers using the latest groundwater and satellite technologies.

It may not be one among the top 15 weather forecast applications of the world, but A.P. weather forecast Varuna receives inputs from high density automatic weather stations installed in the State and weather forecast data from ISRO and agencies in the U.S. and Europe. Accurate forecast with parameters like temperature, wind speed, rainfall and humidity will be issued to the farmers.

Varuna is unique from the other weather forecast apps because it provides real time groundwater position in 1,229 micro basins (1,255 groundwater stations).

Minister for Water Resources Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said the Varuna app, which could be downloaded from the Google Play Store, would be popularised in the 90-day State-wide water conservation drive to be launched by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on April 15.

The application named “AP Weather Forecast” is available only on the Android platform. The iOS version would come out soon, the Minister said.

Satellite technology
The government has also been using satellite technology to improve rainwater harvesting in the areas lacking irrigation facilities.

Andhra Pradesh Space Applications Centre senior scientist A. Nageswara Rao said the ideal places to build 20,000 check dams and earth-filled dams had been identified using satellite technology. Using satellite images, water harvesting structures had been planned in first, second and third order streams and at various confluence points, Mr. Rao said.

The type of soil, porosity of the rock and the slope were important parameters in building check dams. For example, a check dam structure on non-porous rock was a waste, Mr. Rao said.

“It will take years to conduct a physical survey, but by using satellite technology we are able to prepare a plan before the rainy season,” he added.