Chennai

Offers galore to rejuvenate waterbodies

A dying pond in the middle of the apartment complex was restored at Navalur due to efforts of the real estate promoter. Photo: M. Karunakaran  

As part of its efforts towards rejuvenating neglected waterbodies, the Water Resources Department (WRD) is receiving proposals from private organisations to clean or restore them in the city’s periphery.

“We have received proposals to clean waterbodies at Sholinganallur, Pallavaram, Tambaram and Maraimalai Nagar from voluntary organisations and the private sector, including automobile firms. They are under consideration,” an official said.

While officials welcome such initiatives, particularly when the department is struggling to take up restoration of waterbodies on a large scale due to fund crunch, they say such efforts can be encouraged in tanks that do not serve any irrigation purpose. “We welcome such initiatives with community participation as it will create more awareness among people to protect neighbourhood tanks. We sanction permission to take up restoration works, but under our supervision,” said an official.

It may be recalled that one of the first such projects with private partnership was the one to restore the Kolavai lake in Chengalpattu, located about 50 km from the city. A detailed project report was prepared by Mahindra World City industrial park a few years ago. However, the proposal to restore the lake under the National Lake Conservation Plan is pending with the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The pond at Navalur, which was an abandoned, dry waterbody until 2007, presents a success story. Now, it is brimming with water after a real estate promoter adopted it. Olympia Group started developing the property with 2,000 apartments around the pond in 2007. “The silted up, unused pond belonged to the local panchayat,” said Ajit Chordia, managing director, Olympia Group.

“We then took permission from the panchayat to desilt it. We linked stormwater drains to the waterbody and dug recharge wells in the pond. This helped groundwater recharge. We also beautified the area around the lake with technical assistance,” he said.

S.C. Raghuram, a resident of the apartment complex, said: “After the waterbody was revived and the landscape was improved with seating arrangements and a walkway around it, residents were attracted to it. We enjoy better groundwater resources now.”

The Environmental Foundation of India (EFI) is one of the voluntary organisations that have sought permission for restoring some lakes. EFI founder Arun Krishnamurthy said the government recently sanctioned permission to rejuvenate 19 lakes, including those at Arasankazhani, Nanmangalam, Thiruverkadu and Mudichur with public participation.

“It is an encouraging move and we take their support for the scientific aspects of restoration such as bund strengthening, desilting and repair of weirs,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 1:47:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Offers-galore-to-rejuvenate-waterbodies/article14509558.ece

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