Once a source of fresh water for irrigation, Kadaperi lake is now rapidly degrading
Due to unchecked pollution, abetted by government agencies, a sprawling water body in Tambaram is under siege.
The Kadaperi Lake in West Tambaram, has fallen a victim to pollution caused by unchecked discharge of grey water and sullage from homes and commercial establishments, as well as effluents from the Tambaram Depot of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation.
Kadaperi Lake's original expanse was nearly 65 acres, but it has now shrunk to less than 50 acres due to urbanisation and encroachments.
Several thousand homes in as many as six wards of Tambaram Municipality have come up around the lake, according to officials of the Public Works Department, who say that the lake is a perfect example of a fresh water source that is now being degraded.
According to officials, discharge of grey water from homes and commercial establishments, especially restaurants, dumping of solid waste within the water-spread area and draining of effluents directly from the MTC depot, were the most important causes for the present condition of the water body.
Long-time residents of West Tambaram recalled that strengthening of the lake bund and improvement work was carried out as early as in 1914.
Until about three decades ago, water from Kadaperi Lake served as a source for irrigation in farmlands in Kadaperi, Pulikkuradu and Tiruneermalai.
With the increase in construction activity, especially at the Madras Export Processing Zone – Special Economic Zone in Tambaram Sanatorium and the MTC Depot, the water body's decay began to accelerate, according to residents, who say that the lake is now only a cesspool.
The situation has now become so bad that the water in wells in homes around the lake has become completely unfit for consumption, residents of Ranganathapuram, who live very close to the lake, said.
No treatment plant
In the absence of an effluent treatment plant or even a sedimentation pit inside the MTC Depot, lubricants and other effluents are directly drained into the lake, residents said.
MTC officials however, refuted that effluents from the depot found their way into the lake.
Only the water used in washing buses went outside to the lake through the drain, they said. Engine oil removed from vehicles was collected and taken in huge barrels and re-sold outside.
Residents have been urging government agencies to drain the lake completely so that desilting and deepening could be carried out.
Even during the monsoon, only surplus water drained out of the lake, while the contaminated water continued to remain in the water-spread area.
PWD officials admit that Kadaperi Lake is among the “most polluted of lakes” around Tambaram.
They said an adverse impact on the natural course of surplus water and discharge of effluents had caused severe damage to the once-vibrant water body.
There were proposals with the State government to carry out improvement work in lakes including Kadaperi, the department officials added.