CHENNAI: At a time when a majority of waterbodies in the city lie parched, exposing cracked beds - two lakes in the suburbs are brimming with water. Thanks to the efforts of a local NGO focussed on restoring lakes, these waterbodies are holding a good amount of water even with recent light showers.
Alleri lake located inside MEPZ at Tambaram and Veppanthangal lake at Alapakkam near Porur are being restored by Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) for the past two months now. Previously, the lakes were infested with sewage and garbage and were unable to retain rainwater. After the eco-restoration which focussed on reviving water channels to neighbouring lakes and installing recharge pits, both lakes finally look like their former selves.
Volunteers from EFI said sewage contamination from surrounding areas like Kadapperi was the major problem at Alleri lake. After these inlets were closed off by MEPZ officials, a regulating channel is being built that will help water percolate to the ground more efficiently. A regulated outlet channel has also been formed so that excess water flows to the nearby Thiruneermalai lake. “We are focussed on restoring more and more such neglected lakes before monsoon, so that they are able to collect as much rainwater as possible. After just three days of light rains itself, these lakes were brimming with water,” said Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of EFI.
Veppanthangal lake on the other hand, showed typical signs of neglect in an urban space, including dumping of garbage. Around 160 volunteers helped in removing garbage and invasive weeds that were shrinking it for years and fenced the lake too. EFI members said that most of the mechanised work for restoration was over and lakes will be fully restored by July end.
Porur and Tambaram are among the areas which have seen a steep decline in groundwater levels, even up to 600ft in some areas and are forced to rely on private tankers for water. The only solution to avoid this scenario in next summers, is to restore and protect such water bodies from urbanisation, said experts.