Chennai

Hope dawns for Velachery Lake

The lake has massively shrunk owing to encroachments. Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

A team of officials from the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board and other government departments, including the Chennai Corporation made an inspection of the sprawling Velachery Lake, among the last surviving water bodies in the city on Sunday morning in an attempt to protect and preserve the water body. The team was led by C. Rajendran, South Chennai Lok Sabha Member of Parliament and he was accompanied by officials and engineers from Public Works Department and other government agencies. Mr. Rajendran said there was a proposal to create landscaping and a walkers' pathway around the lake for the benefit of residents from his MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

Engineers of the Water Resources Organisation of Public Works Department, told The Hindu that the lake's original expanse was close to 100 acres. The lake was nestled between Velachery and Adambakkam (once part of Alandur Municipality before its merger with Chennai Corporation). The lake was once an important source of drinking water to people living around the water body.

It was during the 1970's that problems began and degradation of the lake speeded up. Out of the original expanse of the lake, a vast quantity had vanished due to encroachments. The lake was now reduced to a patch of a little over 75 acres that could be seen from the Velachery Bypass. According to PWD engineers, the lake was very important in the natural flow of water in the southern suburbs of Chennai. Water from a few pockets in the southern suburbs of Chennai and also from Guindy found its way into this lake.

The lake was very close to Pallikaranai Marshland and its original channels linking it with the marshland had vanished due to construction activities. With the lake shrinking owing to encroachments, its water retention capacity too reduced considerably, resulting in massive quantities of water flowing out of the lake. The Chennai Corporation designed an ambitious plan of launching boating in the lake, but was subsequently dropped as it was not found to be feasible with officials pointing out to contamination as the principal reason. Despite areas around the lake having underground drainage networks in place, tThere is also no mechanism to prevent discharge of sewage and effluents into the water body.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 3:18:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hope-dawns-for-velachery-lake/article3540274.ece

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