Residents interact with IIT-M experts

In continuation of its efforts to restore Sembakkam lake, Care Earth Trust, in association with Nature Conservancy of India and experts of IIT-Madras, organised an opinion-seeking meeting with members of Sri Sarvamangala Nagar Residents’ Association, Chitlapakkam.

The meeting was held at the Children’s Park of Sri Sarvamangala Nagar. Earlier, questionnaires were circulated among the residents seeking their suggestions regarding restoration of Sembakkam lake and water channels connecting the lake to other waterbodies. The questionnaire focussed on the importance of the lake, discharge of sewage and dumping of garbage into the lake.

The questionnaire was presented to residents of Indira Nagar and Gomathy Nagar, Chitlapakkam, Ayyappa Nagar, and Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Sembakkam.

Members of Welfare Associations of Chitlapakkam, Sembakkam, Pallavaram and Chitlapakkam Rising participated in the session. Residents believe that the restoration of Sembakkam lake becomes essential as it is an important water source and if restored, the groundwater level in the neighbourhood would increase. M. Ravi, secretary, Sri Sarvamangala Residents’ Association, also insisted that residents install rainwater harvesting systems in their houses to recharge the groundwater.

S. Muthuraman, president, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar Welfare Association, said the lake has shrunk in size due to encroachments. The lake has been marred by sewage inflows and dumping of garbage.

“Though Pallavaram has underground drainage facility, sewage of certain residential areas are directly let into the Sembakkam lake,” he added.

Raman of Karthick Avenue Welfare Association also said groundwater was contaminated.

Due to groundwater being contaminated, residents are forced to buy water from private tankers.

Answering a question from Sunil Jayaraman of Chitlapakkam Rising, experts from the IIT-Madras said they were finding out whether drainage entering Sembakkam lake, through eight inlets, could be diverted through a single channel and treated before being let into the lake. Most participants rejected the suggestion of letting treated drainage into the lake. K. Ramakrishna of Sri Savamangala Nagar Residents’ Association said implementation of underground drainage system offered a permanent solution to the problem of drainage entering the lake.

The participants also said lack of co-ordination among Government departments was the primary reason for the current state of the lake.

K. Venkataraman, president, Sri Sarvamangala Nagar Residents’ Association, siad encroachments must be removed from the lake and it must be desilted and deepened and the bunds strengthened. Seetha of Care Earth Trust and other experts from IIT-M requested the residents to stop dumping garbage and stop letting sewage into the lake.

M. Nisha Priya, project manager, The Nature Conservancy, said, “The presence of water in borewells and wells is mainly due to Sembakkam lake. A section of residents reuse the water after purification. Only four per cent of the residents rely on piped water supply and private tankers. A proposal to create an outlet, drain the sewage from the lake into the nearby sewage treatment plant either at Tambaram or Pallavaram through the outlet or set up a treatment plant, map the lake water channels and let the treated water into the channels, is in the pipeline.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:15:29 AM |

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