Low water levels in Chandigarh's age-old Sukhna Lake forces officials to restrict boating
By Harpreet Bajwa | Express News Service | Published: 19th May 2017 07:09 PM |
CHANDIGARH: The man-made Sukhna Lake, built in 1958 and spread over an area of three square km, is likely to go dry by June 30 as the dry spell continues. In 2016, the area under water was reduced to a mere 1.3 square km but has posed no problems in drinking water supply.
The depth is between eight to 16 ft but has now shrunk to 1.75 ft and is barely managing to stay afloat in some parts of the lake, forcing the Chandigarh Administration to stop boating activity due to low water levels.
The seasonal rivulets on which 200 check dams were constructed to stop the lake from silting years ago from 338 acres of catchment area in Kansal in Punjab, Saketri in Haryana and Kishangarh and Kaimbwala in Chandigarh, have not been able to maintain the water supply as it has been stopped.
From April till now, the lake has lost 50 per cent of its depth. In 2016, the water level was 1,154 feet as the maximum capacity was 1,167 feet but now fallen to 1,151 feet.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had last year directed the Chandigarh Administration to take effective steps, after which water from five tube wells was pumped daily to the lake, but with little effect.
The lake has hundreds of visitors, including tourists, regular walkers, and couples daily. The water supply to the city is not affected as of now as water comes from the Bhakra Main line canal.
The water level in the Bhakra Nangal Dam was 1,537.62 feet on Friday, with an inflow of 32,870 cusecs and outflow of 23, 156 cusecs. The water level in Pong dam on Friday was 1295.70 feet with inflow of 4,217 cusecs and outflow of 5,809 cusecs.
Daily, 80 MGD (Million Gallons Per Day) of water is supplied to the Kajuali water works but the demand is 116 MGD, therefore a gap of 36 MGD (1 MGD is 45 lakh liters).
An official said that the filling season is underway at the Bhakra Nangal Dam and water will rise in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the sub-soil water table has been dipping at a fast pace in 80 per cent of Punjab, with 57 per cent down by 2 meters and eight per cent by two to four meters.