Master plan for phased restoration of city’s water bodies, waterways to be prepared

There is now a glimmer of hope for the dying, vanishing water bodies in the Chennai metropolitan area (CMA). A master plan for a phased restoration of these water bodies as well as waterways is all set to be prepared.

Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) has called for consultants to prepare an overall plan to rejuvenate 214 kms of waterways, including Mambalam, Velachery and Kodungaiyur drains and Otteri Nullah, and the 42 water bodies spread across the CMA. While Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust will act as the nodal agency, TNUIFSL has been roped in for providing technical assistance for the ambitious project.

Though measures are being taken by various government departments, particularly Water Resources Department (WRD) and fisheries, to give a fresh lease of life to some of the disappearing water bodies, the master plan will try to tackle the perennial problem in a holistic manner. The water bodies to be covered include those in Ambattur, Madhavaram, Ayappakkam and Chitlapakkam. The Cooum and Adyar rivers will not be included and the master plan for the Cooum is likely be completed soon, a TNUIFSL official said.

The master plan has to provide a detailed analysis of the features of each lake and their current status, and will identify sources of pollution and map them. Based on the master plan, various government departments will be involved in implementing the works over the next decade.

Though a list of 42 lakes has been provided by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority the consultant has to take up a fresh study, identify the water bodies in the CMA, collate data on the projects taken up and provide an estimate of the period required for the revival of the water body.

Sources in the TNUIFSL said the lakes falling within the 426 sq km of the city would be given priority. “We have already identified four lakes in Chetpet, Keelkattalai, Zamin Pallavaram and Narayanapuram for rejuvenation. Detailed project reports will be ready in four or five months,” said a source.

Among them, Chetpet Lake, which belongs to the fisheries department, may be the first one to have a detailed plan for rejuvenation.

The consultant will be required to integrate all the ongoing projects taken up by various departments, such as Chennai Corporation and WRD, while preparing the master plan. Options for recreation facilities and the tourism potential of the water bodies will also be explored.

The master plan would have to suggest ways to reduce pollution and protect the lakes from further encroachments, specify cost estimates, methods of execution and funding pattern, the source said.

Every year, a minimum of 4 or 5 lakes will be identified for restoration.

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