Bengaluru, Jan 5: The Karnataka State Cricket Association has been in the forefront of embracing latest technology in various fields and in keeping with that tradition, the association on Wednesday commissioned the subsurface aeration and vaccum-powered drainage project, which was undertaken last June.
After installing solar panels to generate electricity, rain-water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, waste management, the KSCA has added another first to its credit. Touted as the first such facility to be installed in a cricket stadium in the world, the technology ensures the resumption of a match within a few minutes after it stops raining, by facilitating rapid drying of the ground.
Completed at a cost of Rs 4.25 crore and with an annual maintainance cost of Rs 7 lakh, the technology has been developed by the US-based SubAir and has been implemented by Great Sports Infra. The system is not only designed to ensure that no match is abandoned or unduly delayed because of a wet outfield but also make sure that the grass is both healthy and nourished.
The system automatically kicks into action the minute it starts raining, thereby not allowing any buildup of water on the outfield. It quickly removes accumulated water (36 times faster than drainage by gravity).
The spur to have a better drainage mechanism was the abandonment of the last four days of the Test match between India and South Africa Test here in November 2015. “With insurance companies not willing to insure the match because of the strong forecast for heavy rain during the Test, we ended up with a loss in excess of Rs 2 crore,” said Vinay Mruthyunjaya, the KSCA spokesperson.
“We then decided that while we can’t do anything about the rain, what happens thereafter is in our control. That’s how, after a series of discussions and demonstrations, we arrived at this decision aimed at not merely guard against loss for the KSCA but also for the spectators to get their money’s worth,” he noted.
Kevin Crowe, senior vice-president of SubAir Systems, explaining the mechanism involved, said: “There are sensors underneath the surface that gauge not just water levels but also salinity, the temperature and related parameters. “We have a separator at the ground through which the water and air are diverted to different outlets.”
The air that is sucked from underneath is routed out of the stadium, while fresh air is brought back in through the vacuum mode to prove greater oxygen to the grass. The water that is drained from the outfield will be stored in a tank that can hold up to 1.5 lakh litres, and will be reused for upkeep and maintenance.
Anil Kumar, the managing director of Great Sports Infra, said 100 litres of water could be evacuated every minute. “We have laid drainage pipes totalling 4.5 kilometres under the surface,” said Kumar.