Kaleshwaram package 8 pumping station : An engineering marvel

This is a story of world’s largest irrigation pumping station built deep inside the earth’s surface. From
330 metres below the ground level at Laxmipur village in Karimnagar, an engineering marvel is taking shape and giving hope to farmers in several districts of getting water for irrigation. It is only apt to call it a world wonder as lift irrigation schemes on such massive scale exists nowhere in the world. Generally, pump houses for lift irrigation projects are built at ground level near river banks to pump water to higher elevation. However, Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) is unique in its respect. The depth of this super structure is about one third of a kilometer below the ground. A structure of such massive size is a first of its kind in the world. The pump house has been built to pump 3 TMC of water per day.

The Ramadugu pumping station, one of the four stages of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS), considered being unique and the biggest in the world will have seven pumps each with 139 MW capacities. The discharge capacity of this single electric pump is so huge that it can fill the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad city in just a couple of days. If switched on at the same time, the seven pumps together can discharge 21,000 cusecs of water. A rare engineering feat, made possible only by MEIL.

The size of the underground work in Package 8 of the Kaleshwaram project is simply mindboggling. Going around the pump house, nestled 330 meters underneath the ground, reminds one of visiting a huge shopping mall with multiple floors.

Massive underground caverns have been excavated to construct the pump house and surge pools to lift incoming water from underground. Pumps and motors are being erected to lift water from there. This forms a very crucial part under KLIS and is popularly known as Package 8. Scientifically and technologically it has been found necessary to build an underground pumping station here which is considered a man made engineering wonder. 21.6 lakh cubic meters of soil has been excavated from a depth of 130 meters beneath the surface of earth to build a power house by using 4.75 lakh cubic meters of concrete. While only a few of such massive engineering creations are found around the world, a gigantic pumping station like this is considered a first of its kind in the world. Each pump in the pumping station can discharge 89.14 Cumecs of water and all the seven pumps together will lift 624 Cumecs of water.

Each floor in the pump house is being built by using 87,995 square feet of concrete. While each floor in 5 units under phase one are built to an extent of 57,049 square feet, each floor in 2 units under phase two will have 30,946 square feet space. The four floor pump house will be built essentially to house Transformer Bays, Control Rooms, Battery Room, Motor Room, LT Panels, Pump Floor and Compressors.

With the active cooperation of BHEL, MEIL has taken up this challenging mission and moving ahead. Of the total work, BHEL is supplying motors, pumps, mechanical equipment, and accessories for erection of pump house. However, the crucial part of procuring that equipment from various parts and transporting them to the project site, commencing assembling and erection operation is a job fraught with many technical challenges. MEIL, banking on 25 years of its rich technical expertise in electro mechanical works, has been executing this part by overcoming several adversities.

Critical aspects of the pump house are like erection of pumps, motors and building of tunnels and surge pools. All these works have been executed with utmost care and commitment. The huge cavern it has built under this package found nowhere else in the world. With 140 meters depth, 25 meters width and 65 meters in height, the cavern is such a huge structure which houses a surge pool and additional surge pool.

The Pump House is another super structure unheard of in the history of lift irrigation schemes across the world. Pump House Service Bay is located at +221 meters below the ground while pump bay is at +190.5 meters, transformer bay at +215 meters, control room at +209 meters beneath the earth’s surface respectively. Totally 7 pumps and motors are to be installed under package 8. While 5 units will be set up under phase 1, 2 units will be built under Phase 2 of the project. Out of these 5 and 4 units are up and gone through primary trial run. Works on 1 and 2 units under phase 1 are going on at brisk pace and expected completion by the end of June 2018 while work on unit 3 is under progress.

The pump house consists of two tunnels built side by side. These are called left and right tunnels. Each tunnel measuring 10.5 mts dia and 4,133 meters length has been carved out and the lining work was completed.

Electro-mechanical works in this pump house are considered to be very crucial. Each motor requires 139 MW of power to run. To ensure this, power supply and transformer systems were put in place. A 160 MVA capacity pump transformer along with compressor units for the 5th unit have been set up successfully.

What is most amazing about project is the surge pool in the pump house. The ‘surge pool’ is sweeping everyone off their feet. Water gathered in the surge pool goes to the pump. Water discharged by the draft tube enters and goes up through the pump. To ensure uninterrupted pumping there should be large pool of water available in huge quantity. Three surge pools have been built to store enough water. The main surge pool measures 200x20x67.8 meters. Additional surge pool measures 60x20x69.5 meters. Likewise transformer bay has been built beneath them. While the pump house is located 140 meters below the ground, erection of turbine pumps at a depth of 138 meters underground are unique features of the project. Each pump motor weighs around 2,376 metric tonnes that leaves to your imagination to think how massive each pump unit was.

MEIL is executing such complex and high-end electro-mechanical works on war footing with an objective to deliver water to the farm lands in time. Engineering teams and other skilled work force are working round the clock with maximum load equipment to achieve the desired high quality output. *

– The pump house consists of the highest pumping head of 117 meters. It delivers an incredible 2 TMC of water per day.

– The pump house consists of pumps with the highest capacity in the world, 89.14 cumecs each

– The project team faced a lot of challenges during the execution phase because of the magnitude of the project and the underlying complexities

– The Bottom of the surge pool, which is under water, is at a depth of 185.52 meters. The total depth of the pump house alone is 137.5 meters.

– The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project (Package-8) is unique in this respect

– The total tunnel length for this pump house is 14.9 KM below ground level,

– located at 140 meters

– This colossal pump house, which can be defined as the heart of package-8 of this project, is built in an area of 69615 Sq ft. (for each floor).

– MEIL is in JV with BHEL to construct the pump houses for KLIP

– MEIL has been executing such complex and

– high-end electro-mechanical works on war footing with an objective to deliver water to the farmlands (through canals) by the target date

– KLIP-Package 8 is an astounding man-made engineering marvel

– Projects completed using modern technologies continue to dominate headlines across the globe.

– However, only a handful of projects are recognized as engineering marvels

– Engineering experts say only few firms in the world such as MEIL has such expertise to take up and execute the project. It is being built to answer many basic questions of engineering and modern technology to further develop technologies especially for pump houses, stations and other irrigation works. Generally lift irrigation schemes come up on ground level on the banks of a River or catchment areas to pump water to draw water.

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