To alleviate the acute water crisis in the city, Chennai Corporation has decided to improve the storage capacity of 210 waterbodies by plugging sewage outfalls and removing encroachments.
With the government exploring options for improving water supply to residents, senior officials began inspectig tank eco-restoration projects across the city this week.
“The storage of the 210 tanks will increase from 0.312 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) to 1.041 TMC. Villivakkam tank eco-restoration will improve storage capacity by 500%,” said a civic official.
But encroachments in many waterbodies have affected the eco-restoration project. Officials are yet to remove any of the encroachments identified along the waterbodies.
“Over 32 waterbodies have reduced in size because of 3,026 houses that have been constructed,” said an official.
The total extent of the 210 waterbodies managed by Chennai Corporation is 9.67 sq. km. But most of them have reduced in area by more than 50%, officials said.
Encroachments on 178 of the 210 waterbodies have not been surveyed properly by the revenue authorities concerned.
The encroachers have also been letting sewage in the stormwater drains in the residential areas, polluting most of the waterbodies.
In a bid to get proper planning permission and sewer connections, the residents of encroached property have been demanding patta from the revenue authorities for the past few years.
Work on increasing storage capacity of 70 waterbodies is expected to be completed shortly, officials said. Chennai Corporation has taken up eco-restoration projects in 53 waterbodies at a cost of ₹20 crore.
Residents’ association and corporates have taken up eco-restoration projects of tanks in 38 areas.
Work on ecorestoration of 100 waterbodies will also be taken up shortly, officials said.
Work on ecorestoration has been completed in waterbodies such as Ramapuram Tank in ward 155 in Valasaravakkam zone, Kanniamman Koil Street Pond in ward 16 in Manali zone, Vembuliamman Koil Pond in ward 17 in Manali zone, Kathakuzhi Pond in ward 17 in Manali zone, Andarkuppam Pond in ward 16 in Manali zone, Aavin Kulam in ward 28 in Madhavaram zone, South Kolathur Pond in ward 190 in Perungudi zone, Puludivakkam Pond in ward 169 in Perungudi zone and Madipakkam lake in ward 187 in Perungudi zone.