Project for waterbodies in Porur, Ayanambakkam and Neman will augment water sources

Three lakes in the city fringes will finally get a new lease of life after several years of neglect.

After nearly a year since the government ordered rejuvenation of the waterbodies to supply drinking water to Chennai, work is to take off in a week. The Water Resources Department (WRD) has initiated the process to improve the waterbodies in Porur, Ayanambakkam near Thiruverkadu and Nemam near Chembarambakkam. Residents want the department to expedite the work to save the waterbodies from further degradation.

The department planned to increase the storage capacity of four water bodies, including the one in Cholavaram, by 600 million cubic feet (mcft) to meet the growing water needs of the city. While the work to step up the storage has been completed in Cholavaram reservoir, the project to rejuvenate three other lakes was delayed as there were no takers for the tender.

Officials of the WRD said that preliminary work, including laying of inspection track and stationing equipment, is being done now. “We have given no objection certificate to the contractor to sell the excavated silt. The contractor has approached the Tiruvallur collectorate to get permission to sell the silt. The mining section of the collectorate is expected to sanction permission in a week,” said an official.

The three waterbodies would be desilted and deepened by 2 metre to increase their storage capacity by 400 mcft. At present, 1,000 mcft is being drawn from the city reservoirs to supply 830 million litres a day.

Residents of Ayanambakkam and Porur want the department to secure the lakes from further encroachment and misuse, through dumping of garbage and release of sewage. While the Porur lake is the most polluted among the three, the other two are exploited by private water suppliers. Illegal sand mining is also rampant.

E. Prathanam of Thiruverkadu municipality said that it has been several months since encroachments were removed from the Ayanambakkam tank. About 800 families were given alternate land in Morai near Avadi. The department must expedite work to strengthen the bund that gets breached during rains. Residents of several adjoining localities, including Dinesh Nagar and New Century Nagar, were severely affected during floods two years ago.

Rejuvenating the lakes would not only augment drinking water sources, but also recharge groundwater table in the localities. The water table in Ayanambakkam stands within few metres below the ground.

Officials of the WRD said that the project worth Rs. 129 crore will be completed in 18 months.

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