An institution must be formed to plan and monitor conservation of waterways in Chennai. Community education campaigns should also be conducted to create awareness about pollution of water bodies.

These were some of the recommendations made at the two-day seminar on ‘Waterways in Chennai' that concluded here on Friday.

Participating in the valedictory function of the seminar, which was organised by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Information and Urban Development Minister Parithi Ellamvazhuthi stressed the need for public co-operation for protecting waterways.

As more people migrated to the city, judicious use of water was essential to conserve groundwater resources. Besides tree planting, younger generation must be enlightened about the necessity of saving water. The recommendations must be incorporated in the forthcoming projects appropriately, he said.

Presenting the recommendations of the seminar, CMDA vice-chairperson, Susan Mathew, said besides increasing the storage capacity of the water bodies and creating scientific landfills, rivers must be widened and flood plains must be developed along the banks and used as recreational areas. The feasibility of converting the middle stretch of Buckingham Canal as a reservoir must be examined.

Pointing out that there were deficiencies in sewage collection and disposal, she said continued efforts were necessary to tackle the issue. Chennai Metrowater must initiate measures to decentralise sewage treatment and identify more locations for treatment plants.

Besides adopting eco-engineering to rejuvenate rivers, accurate contour map for designing storm water drainage must be prepared for the Chennai Metropolitan Area. The project of Adyar Poonga must be replicated and agencies such as Chennai Port Trust that have benefitted from the waterways must provide financial assistance for the river conservation, she said. Mayor M.Subramanian highlighted the various measures taken by Chennai Corporation to improve waterways and stormwater drainage and also rejuvenate water bodies. With the completion of the projects in about two years, inundation on city roads would be avoided. CMDA's Member Secretary Vikram Kapur and Chief Executive Officer V.Kannusamy also participated.

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